The governor of Washington declared a state of emergency over a measles outbreak Friday.
Public health officials in southwest Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, said people may have been exposed to the unsafe disease at more than three dozen locations, including Portland International Airport, a Portland Trail Blazers game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea. Because measles is contagious before people realize they are sick, people who are not vaccinated may spread the disease without knowing.
The outbreak appears to have already spread to neighbouring OR, with one related case reported.
The Clark County Public Health said Thursday the people newly confirmed to have measles have stayed home, preventing additional exposures to the public.
Clark County, located across the Columbia River from Portland, Oreg., has confirmed 23 cases since January 1, reports Newsweek. According to the CDC, if a person has measles, 90 percent of unvaccinated people close to them will also become infected.
The best protection against measles is vaccination.
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Eighteen states allow non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccinations for philosophical beliefs.
A state of emergency was declared on Friday in the western USA state of Washington following a measles outbreak that has affected more than two dozen people, the majority of them children.
The measles vaccine has been part of routine childhood shots for decades, and measles was declared eliminated in the U.S.in 2000. While it is expected that most travellers will be immune to measles, some individuals will be susceptible, including infants less than one year old or people who have never been immunized against measles.
The highly contagious disease can be easily spread through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists.
In 2018, six cases of measles were reported among B.C. residents.
Southwest District Health says health care providers should consider measles if they see patients with symptoms like fever and malaise followed by a rash that starts at the head and moves down the body. More than two dozen cases have been confirmed statewide. Serious complications such pneumonia and brain infections can arise from the disease in some cases.