Washington under state of emergency as measles cases rise

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That is a significant increase from Friday's reported numbers when Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency.

A measles outbreak in Washington State has prompted health officials to declare a public emergency. Health officials are looking at a number of other suspected cases.

Last week, a person infected with measles attended a Portland Trail Blazers home game in OR amid the outbreak.

Most of the cases involved children younger than 10, the Clark County Public Health Department said in a statement.

"Some of the challenges for Washington state is that there are a lot of rural issues, they may not be opposed to vaccines but they just have a problem getting to the doctor", Koenig said.

Measles virus travels through the air. The virus can live for up to two hours wherever an infected person has coughed or sneezed. In two cases the infection was acquired during travel out of Canada (India and Philippines, respectively), and four from imported cases. People who are not killed by the disease may still develop serious, lifelong complications. The vaccination status for the remaining four is, for now, unclear. Most of the patients are children under 10, and one child has been hospitalized. OR also has a high nonmedical exemption rate for vaccinations-one 2018 state analysis found a rate among kindergarteners of 7.5 percent, with the number for K-12 students climbing as high as 10 percent in some counties. Rep. Paul Harris, who represents Clark County, says his bill in the House is aiming to get personal exemptions off the table only when it comes to the measles.

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Prior to 1963, when the measles vaccine became available, measles was the leading cause of death among children worldwide, report Romo and Neighmond. To this day, it still kills 100,000 children a year worldwide, most under the age of five. However, state laws allowing parents to opt out of mandatory vaccinations quickly began eroding those statistics, leading to outbreaks across the nation.

Thirty-one of those 35 people were unvaccinated.

Who cares if measles are the most contagious of any disease known to man.

As NPR reported, "In 2014, there were 667 cases in the U.S".

The State of Alaska warns that Alaskans who have visited various public places in Washington State and Portland, Oregon may be at risk of contracting measles if they aren't up-to-date on their Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccination. And Seattle, Spokane and Portland are among 15 US cities considered "hot spots" for their high rates of non-medical exemptions to vaccines that cover measles, mumps and rubella.

Pediatrician Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor College of Medicine's National School of Tropical Medicine, told NPR there is a very-aggressive anti-vaccine lobby throughout the Pacific Northwest that have effectively driven up the rates of vaccine non-compliance, leaving scores of children vulnerable to the infection. A claim that has been wholly refuted by the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms such as high fever, rash all over the body, stuffy nose and red eyes typically disappear without treatment within two or three weeks.

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