Published: Mon, January 28, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Measles outbreak in Washington State leads to state of emergency

Measles outbreak in Washington State leads to state of emergency

Inslee's proclamation allows agencies and departments to use state resources and "do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas".

According to The Oregonian, most of the cases involved children younger than 10, the Clark County Public Health Department in Washington said in a statement.

"Routinely we don't vaccinate children prior to the age of one, so infants are likely to be susceptible, especially after about four to six months of age", she says.

As of Saturday, there are 32 confirmed cases of measles in Washington - an outbreak that has already prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency.

There have been 30 recorded cases of the infectious disease in the state's Clark County - just north of Portland - in January.

Locations and venues include Portland International Airport, at the Moda Center during a Portland Trail Blazers basketball game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea.

A full list of exposure sites connected to the Clark County outbreak is available on the Clark County Public Health website.

The majority of those infected are children, many of whom have not been immunized against the disease, officials said.

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Before the vaccine, 400 to 500 people died from the measles each year, 50,000 people were hospitalized and 4,000 people developed brain swelling that can cause deafness, he said.

Clark County - which is in the southwest part of Washington and close to Portland - has a lower vaccination rate than almost any other county in the state.

In 2018, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the U.S.

Measles is a contagious virus that spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. The typical recommendations are that children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, the first between 12 to 15 months of age and the second between 4 and 6 years old.

Southwest District Health says health care providers should consider measles if they see patients with symptoms like fever and malaise followed by a rash that starts at the head and moves down the body.

Two doses of the vaccine in childhood are 97 percent effective and provide lifetime immunity.

Anyone who has not been vaccinated is at risk of getting measles if you come into contact with someone who is contagious.

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