Growing measles outbreak in Washington spreading fear among parents

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Health officials say the number of confirmed cases of measles in western Washington has grown to 34, with nine more cases suspected.

"If you put a case of measles into a highly unvaccinated population, it can spread like wildfire", he said.

But the measles can also cause coughing, a runny nose, inflamed eyes, a sore throat and fever.

"The measles virus is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children, and the existence of 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties", he said last week.

Public health officials in southwest Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland, said people may have been exposed to measles at more than three dozen locations, including Portland International Airport, a Portland Trail Blazers game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea, the AP reported. Texas is one of the worth offenders, but Washington state also has two metropolitan areas-Seattle and Spokane-that the study identified as hotspots of low vaccination coverage.

Most of the cases have been in children younger than 10, according to a statement from the Clark County Public Health Department in Washington. That is a significant increase from Friday's reported numbers when Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency. Although it's not clear where he became infected, the man said he'd recently traveled to Clark County.

Early on, measles can look like many other viral illnesses, but the red blotchy rash that comes with it may help set it apart.

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Clark County's immunization rate for school-aged children is 78 percent, and a large majority of these cases were in children who were not vaccinated.

The disease was considered eradicated in the United States, but has been spiking in the Pacific northwest.

The Washington Military Department, the release says, is organizing resources to assist the DOH and local officials in easing the effects on people, property and infrastructure. Measles can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and even simply by breathing.

"We're having our children stay home for a number of days, we're asking people actually to be diagnosed in their homes and not actually at the doctor's office because that can infect people in the office", he responded.

BC typically experiences a few cases of measles each year, usually among under-vaccinated travellers returning from parts of the world where measles is still common.

Is it possible to contract measles if you've been vaccinated?

If children get their measles vaccine, they are 95 percent protected.