Measles, the highly contagious and previously eliminated viral illness, has been spreading in communities across the United States in recent weeks, with Washington declaring a state of emergency last week and NY reporting in 2018 its second largest outbreak over the past two decades. The outlet reported that 7.9 percent of children in Clark County were exempt in the 2017-2018 school year from vaccines required for kindergarten entry, making it a hotspot for outbreaks.
The most recent figures available from Washington State Department of Health as of Saturday indicate the number of confirmed cases has since risen to 32 across two counties since January 1, with the majority of cases being in children 10 years old and younger.
A news release on the governor's website says the Washington State Department of Health, or DOH, has implemented an infectious disease incident management structure so it can manage the public health aspects of the outbreak through investigations and lab testing.
Officials in OR and Idaho have issued warnings.
Officials said 30 of the cases involved people who have not had a measles immunization; the other four are not verified.
As of Sunday afternoon, those figures were 34 cases in Clark County (mostly children) and one case in King County (an adult who had visited the affected area).
So far, Clark County has reported 35 confirmed cases of measles and 11 suspected cases. The first known patient sought medical care on December 31, but it is unknown if other people may have gotten sick before that and did not seek treatment.
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People who choose not to vaccinate their children are underestimating the dangers of the illness, said Melnick, who himself had measles as a child, before the vaccine was commonplace.
There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control. At the time there were 26 confirmed measles cases.
House Bill 1638 - introduced last Friday - would look to eliminate personal exemptions for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines.
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.
Those who are concerned about their potential measles exposure but have no symptoms can call 8-1-1 and speak to a nurse.
The full vaccine is 97% effective and provides immunity for life. Measles can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and even simply by breathing. The disease is contagious from approximately four days before the characteristic rash appears to four days after the rash appears.
Most of the people who have contracted the disease were not vaccinated. 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.