State Health Department hasn't confirmed measles "patient zero"

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The most serious complications from severe measles include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), diarrhoea and dehydration, and severe respiratory infections, according to WHO. Most children recover quickly with no lasting effects. Forty-two patients were not immunized against the virus, while health officials had not verified the immunization status of six patients. Officials say they had stayed at home and in contact with health officials. Seattle, Washington; Spokane, Washington; and Portland, Oregon-all 3 of which surround Clark County, Washington, the site of the latest measles outbreak in which 50 cases have been confirmed since January 1, 2019. More than 50 cases have been reported in Clark, King and Multnomah counties since early January.

So far in the USA this year, about 80 cases of measles have been reported, with two outbreaks ongoing in Washington and NY states. The current Washington outbreak has been traced back to someone from outside the country.

Measles, a highly contagious viral disease common among children, causes a rash and high fever. In Clark County, the epicenter of the measles outbreak, the immunity rate of residents aged 6-18 is only.

Area health clinics are scrambling to keep up with sudden demand, mostly among parents of children who had not been inoculated.

Canada has been free of endemic measles since 1998, meaning the virus isn't constantly present. If people aren't vaccinated, the virus can spread easily.

Public Health has identified a fourth suspect case that was unimmunized when exposed to measles and received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine more than 72 hours after exposure.

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"I think "patchwork" is a good word to use to describe it", said Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health with Toronto Public Health.

World Health Organization said the historic annual figure was three times higher than that of 2017 and 15 times greater than the record low reported in 2016.

The agency said it will continue working to improve vaccination rates. She notes that in many parts of the country, rates are only estimates, but even still, they point to signs of trouble.

As measles outbreaks are making headlines across the United States, it's time to sound the alarm on inappropriate personal vaccine exemptions and confront the deadly consequences of vaccine refusal.

And when it comes to combatting preventative diseases, the CDC says there are no alternatives to vaccination.

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