Measles Outbreak Worsens in Washington State

Measles outbreak in Washington State leads BCCDC to advise people on immunization updating

Washington declares public health emergency after measles outbreak of mostly unvaccinated children

In Washington, the governor has declared a state of emergency after the CDC confirmed 26 cases of the measles.

Public health officials are scrambling to contain a measles outbreak in the U.S. Northwest and are warning people to vaccinate their children.

So far, Clark County has reported 35 confirmed cases of measles and 11 suspected cases.

The number of cases has continued to rise, with 34 confirmed and nine suspected cases of the disease. In 2018, six cases of measles were reported by B.C residents.

The outbreak started in Southwest Washington's Clark County, but has been spreading.

"This is something I've predicted for a while now", he says of the situation in Clark County.

The decision to declare a state of emergency means state agencies and departments can use state resources to help manage the outbreak. "People are delaying immunization for their children because they are concerned about this very small, precious 12-month-old", Dr. Neal Halsey of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told NBC News. The proposed legislation was sent to the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.

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An infected person was at the Portland International Airport on January 7 - at Concourse D and the Delta Sky Lounge - and at baggage claim and the south end of the ticket counter on January 15, reported The Columbian.

Health officials are urging anyone who has been exposed at an identified location and believes they have symptoms of measles to call their health care provider prior to visiting the medical office to make a plan that avoids exposing others in the waiting room. "Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination", according to the CDC website. The other 16 are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Vermont.

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 a year ago.

"Measles is highly infectious and spreads through the air by coughing and sneezing, as well as respiratory secretions", said the BCDC. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth, and three to five days after symptoms, a rash may break out, beginning as flat red spots on the face at the hairline that spread down to the neck, trunk, arms and feet.

In B.C., an analysis of the most recent years of data available show 87.3 per cent of children turning two had received one dose of measles vaccine, and 88.4 per cent of children turning seven had received two doses, according to the centre.

In 1978, the CDC set a goal to eliminate measles from the United States by 1982. You are at lower risk of getting measles if you were born before 1957, have had measles disease, or have had one or more measles shots (measles is included in the MMR vaccine).

The pediatricians' group supports only medical exemptions, such as for children undergoing chemotherapy, since the vaccine could be harmful to them. But it raises the possibility the Washington outbreak could spread across the state line.

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