Published: Sat, January 26, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

US measles outbreak latest sign of resurgent virus

US measles outbreak latest sign of resurgent virus

A major measles outbreak has struck a county in Washington state where vaccination rates of children have been plummeting.

Portland, Oregon is suffering a public health emergency as increasing numbers of residents become infected with measles.

A public health emergency has been declared in Clark County, Washington, as a result of an ongoing measles outbreak. The CDC recommends children get two doses of the vaccine. Eighteen of them are young children aged between one and 10 years old. There were 349 cases reported in the country in 2018 - more than any post-elimination year other than 2014, when there were 667.

"This is something I've predicted for a while now", he said of the public health emergency in Clark County.

The health department identified several medical facilities, including PeaceHealth Urgent Care - Memorial, Magnolia Family Clinic, The Vancouver Clinic and other emergency rooms as potential locations of exposure, with a timeline dating back to as early as December 31.

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The public health department said that people may have been exposed to measles at the Kaiser Cascade Park Medical Office on January 19, Costco on January 16, a Dollar Tree on January 15 and the Portland International Airport on January 15. Of those, just 1 percent had medical exemptions, while a massive 7 percent objected due to "personal or religious reasons". But it raises the possibility the Washington outbreak could spread across the state line.

The problem is especially pronounced, the paper found, in more than a dozen "hotspot metropolitan areas", including Portland and Seattle in the Northwest, Phoenix in the Southwest and Pittsburgh in the Northeast. Recently, children are not being vaccinated.

"Portland is a total train wreck when it comes to vaccine rates", Hotez said in an interview with The Post. The outbreaks were largely associated with travelers who brought the virus back from Israel, which is now a widespread outbreak.

Measles was declared eliminated in the 2000, meaning any new cases of the virus on USA soil past that point had originated outside the country and the virus was not able to survive in the US on its own. Twenty-nine cases of the virus were reported in Canadain 2018. It can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space. The modern anti-vaccination movement - built on debunked research published in 1998 that linked the vaccine for measles mumps and rubella, known as the MMR vaccine, to autism - is not exclusive to one side of the political divide, survey data suggests; it tends to find its most fervent supporters at both extremes. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash. Measles causes encephalitis and pneumonia and before mass vaccination began in the 1980s, measles killed almost 2.6 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization.

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