Washington Calls Statewide Emergency Over Measles

Measles outbreak prompts state of emergency declaration by Washington governor

Measles outbreak prompts state of emergency declaration by Washington governor

As of Friday, Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in Washington state in response to more than two dozen confirmed cases of measles.

Twenty-six of the confirmed patients had not been vaccinated against measles, and the vaccination status of four other patients is unknown.

Officials say it appears nearly all involve unvaccinated children under the age of 10.

"Measles is a highly contagious disease that can be fatal in small children", Inslee said in a statement Friday.

Measles was eradicated in the USA after a safe and cheap vaccine was developed in 1963, but in recent years, outbreaks from NY to California have sickened hundreds.

Clark County, Washington, has a vaccination rate of 78 per cent, well below the level necessary to protect those with compromised immune systems or who can't get vaccinated because of medical issues or because they are too young.

The threat also spread in the past few days; Deschutes County officials say someone visiting Bend on January 19 and 20 may have brought measles with them.

Though the measles MMR vaccine has been highly effective since it was first widely distributed in the United States in 1968, there has been a rising trend of parents deciding against vaccinating their children. Clark County Public Health Officer Alan Melnick told the paper that if vaccination rates don't go up in the area, the state could be seeing more incidents like this one moving forward.

"We already send the letters to the parents", said principal Andrey Dolbinin.

In the Clark County cases, numerous infected folks visited hubs in the community where there are larger crowds. According to the Washington State Department of Health, just over 77 percent Washington state kindergartners were unvaccinated because of personal exemptions.

Over the last few years, flu vaccination effectiveness rate has hovered around 40 percent, which may lead to confusion about other vaccines.

In a health alert from King County, it was said the man had recently traveled to Clark County. It can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space. Ninety per cent of people exposed to measles who have not been vaccinated will get it, health officials said. Initial symptoms include fever, cough, watery eyes, and a runny nose; a blotchy red rash will typically spread to all over the infected individual's body roughly three to five days later. It can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, and can be deadly.

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