Published: Tue, January 29, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

State of emergency declared over Washington measles outbreak

State of emergency declared over Washington measles outbreak

LOS ANGELES: A state of emergency was declared on Friday in the western USA state of Washington following a measles outbreak that has affected more than two dozen people, the majority of them children.

A current statewide case count for the measles outbreak is available on DOH's website and will be updated daily.

In 2000, the US healthcare department announced that measles has been eliminated because of a well-distributed vaccination program.

Clark County Public Health has declared a public health emergency, reporting at least 23 confirmed cases and seven suspected cases of measles in the area since the new year.

The BC Centre for Disease Control, a part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides public health leadership through surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services.

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Symptoms of measles can appear 10 to 14 days after exposure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

They added the outbreak could still be in its infancy as the incubation period of the virus averages 14 days. But the CDC confirmed that 349 people suffered from the measles in 26 states and Washington, DC, in 2018.

Public Health officials have released a list of times and places in King County where non-immunized people could have been exposed to measles, such as a Boeing construction site in Auburn, high-school basketball games in Kent and multiple medical facilities in Covington. Doctors say it's a red alert for anyone in King County who has not been vaccinated against measles. Most people receive the MMR vaccine against measles at a young age, making the risk of contracting the infection very low. The measles vaccine consists of two shots, one given by age 2 and the second usually between ages 4 and 6.

"So we can expect to continue to see cases related to this outbreak for many weeks and probably many months". The measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone leaves the area. MMR vaccine is safe and effective; however, it is a live virus vaccine and can not be given to some people with certain types of weakened immunity.

Those who may have been exposed should watch for early symptoms of fever and malaise and then a rash starting on the head and moving down the body. Complications from the disease, such as swelling of the brain, can be deadly.

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