Kids traveling from Washington develop measles in Hawaii

Posted January 31, 2019

Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency affecting all of Washington on Friday due to an ongoing measles outbreak in two counties.

In Clark County alone, which is just north of Portland, Oregon, there were 34 confirmed cases of measles and nine suspected cases.

"People who believe they have symptoms of measles should not go directly to medical offices, urgent care centers or emergency departments - unless experiencing a medical emergency - without calling in advance", Clark County officials said.

Health leaders say the measles outbreak in Washington state could be a closer threat than many realize. In neighboring OR, one case of measles has been confirmed in a resident of Multnomah County, which officials have linked to the Washington outbreak.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles, health officials say. But those who are unvaccinated have a 90 percent chance of catching measles if they breathe the virus in, the CDC says.

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"Two weeks after the exposure you might see some cases, and those people who got sick are exposing other people". Most of the patients are children who have not been vaccinated.

Lindquist added that officials are particularly concerned that "folks that are immuno-compromised - pregnant women, young kids and those that are unvaccinated - could be at risk for this disease" without realizing it because the telltale measles rash might not appear for four days into the sickness.

There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Infected droplets from the individual with measles can spray into the air or land on a surface, where they remain active and contagious for hours. You can find a fully updated list of all the public exposure locations, including the dates and times of potential exposure, on the Clark County Public Health website. Four more cases have been in kids 11 to 18. Measles complications can cause people to be hospitalized, including in intensive care units for newborns, children, and adults. Unfortunately, it can quickly establish itself again in communities where vaccination rates are low - such as certain segments of Humboldt County.

Clark County, the heart of the measles outbreak, has a vaccination rate of only 84.5 percent for kindergarteners when it comes to the measles.

A growing measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest is spreading fear among many parents.

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Also, because of how the virus is spread through sneezing and coughing, the outbreak in Washington is concerning even though it's happening on the other side of the country.

"We should all be anxious when a vaccine-preventable illness is coming back into our country", Sammons said.

These states have particularly high levels - or "hot spots" - of unvaccinated children, and are vulnerable to measles outbreaks, according to a study by Hotez and his colleagues that published previous year.

The measles vaccine is given as part of the combination MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) injection.

In B.C., all school-age children, university students and those traveling out of the country and anyone born after January 1, 1970 should have received two doses of measles vaccine, as should health-care workers born on or after January 1, 1957.

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