Saturday, 20 April, 2019

Measles Outbreak Sparks Public Health Emergency in Washington State

Clark County Public Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick said the measles outbreak which has spread bey Washington declares public health emergency after measles outbreak of mostly unvaccinated children
Celia Hoffman | 30 January, 2019, 14:57

According to Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist for Hawaii, Washington public health officials told her office that a Washington family with two unvaccinated children were confirmed to have contracted the measles.

As of Monday there 35 confirmed cases in Clark County and one case in King County.

There are another nine suspected cases. Most of the patients are children under 10.

31 of the confirmed patients had not been vaccinated against measles.

In the last few days, there has been an outbreak of measles in the Washington state just across the line from Portland, Oregon.

"Measles is highly infectious and spreads through the air by coughing and sneezing, as well as respiratory secretions", said the BCDC.

Inslee said the number of cases "creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties".

"We want everybody to be at 95 percent coverage or higher. Anytime you fall below the 95 percent coverage level diseases can spread a lot more easily", Koenig said.

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The vaccination rate in the area is 78 percent, lower than average, and that's making it harder to contain the outbreak. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of non-vaccinated individuals exposed to someone with the disease will also become infected.

While nearly all states allow exemptions from their vaccination legislation on religious grounds, Washington state is one of 18 states that also allow exemptions on the grounds of personal or moral beliefs.

In 1978, the CDC set a goal to eliminate measles from the United States by 1982. Officials said 30 of the cases involved people who have not had a measles immunization; the other four are not verified.

The Washington Military Department, the release says, is organizing resources to assist the DOH and local officials in easing the effects on people, property and infrastructure. He says his bill will only allow medical exemptions.

If his bill passes, any parent who sends their children to public school will not be allowed to use a personal exemption to not vaccinate their kids. "Clearly this is going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it wouldn't surprise me if we were in the seven figures by the time we're done here", he said.

The death rate is very low for measles, but state health experts are more anxious about serious complications from it. "It's still out there, even though it's been debunked, that the measles vaccine results in autism".

You should immunize your children. And Seattle, Spokane and Portland are among 15 US cities considered "hot spots" for their high rates of non-medical exemptions to vaccines that cover measles, mumps and rubella. The first MMR dose is recommended at 12 months, the second at 4 to 6 years old.

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