Measles Outbreak Prompts Emergency Declaration in Washington State

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"For decades, vaccines were given and compliance was very high, and there are a lot of people, especially in the US, who have no experience with these vaccine-preventable illnesses", Deese said. Measles is highly infectious. Unfortunately, it can quickly establish itself again in communities where vaccination rates are low - such as certain segments of Humboldt County.

Clark County has declared a public health emergency related to the outbreak.

"What keeps me up at night is worrying that we're going to have a child die from this, something that's completely preventable", he said.

House Bill 1638 - introduced last Friday - would look to eliminate personal exemptions for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. If one sick child coughs in a room and leaves, another unvaccinated person has a 90 percent chance of catching the illness. However, those symptoms are then followed by a rash that starts from the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

The virus, spread by coughing or sneezing, can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space.

As the MMR vaccine can not be administered until age 1 this leaves these young infants at particular risk of contracting the measles if they come into contact with the virus. Vaccination with 2 doses of MMR is required to attend schools and colleges in CT, however, students with medical or religious exemptions may attend school without being vaccinated.

Since the outbreak began in Clark County, there have also been confirmed measles cases in the Seattle area, and Multnomah County, Ore. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are 97 percent effective, while just one dose is about 93 percent effective, the CDC said. A level of 95 per cent is recommended in order to prevent the disease from spreading, it said. On Jan. 7 someone with measles was at Portland International airport, while another infected person went to the Portland Trail Blazers game on Jan. 11.

They announced Monday that others could have been infected at the popular Oregon Museum of Science & Industry in Portland and a Walmart Supercenter in Vancouver, Washington. There are certain procedures in place for taking care of patients with measles. Exposed individuals who are not vaccinated against measles must stay out of school, or other high risk settings, for a full 21 days after their last known exposure.

"Measles was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, but it's been allowed to return", Peter Hotez, an infectious diseases researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, tells Vox.

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And once there are pockets of disease, the possibility of a measles outbreak increases. Health officials anticipate that the outbreak will rapidly expand.

Twenty-five of the 35 people in Clark County who've caught the measles are kids between the ages of 1 and 10, while another nine are between 11 and 18.

There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"The best way to protect yourself against the measles is to get the measles shot". One person has been hospitalized in the outbreak.

"At times, it was really frightening to see how angry and hostile people were to this idea", Maldonado said.

"I haven't taken the baby in public for 10 days".

"He's on house arrest", she said.

Measles was once a deadly disease among American children until a vaccine for it became available in 1963.