Published: Sun, February 03, 2019
Health Care | By Terrence Lopez

Health Officials Confirm 42 Measles Cases In WA

Health Officials Confirm 42 Measles Cases In WA

The measles outbreak that has sickened 38 people in Washington state has spread to Hawaii and OR by travelers with the highly-contagious disease.

"The measles vaccine isn't flawless, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness", Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health director, said in a news release. Of the 35 confirmed cases of the age-old illness, 31 of the infected have never been vaccinated against the disease. Of the 41 confirmed cases, 37 are people who were not immunized and four are unverified.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee last week declared a state of emergency because of the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared measles "eliminated" from the United States in 2000, but adherents of an anti-vax movement, tied in part to concerns about links between vaccines and autism, has led many parents to skip the shot, opening the door to potential infection. All but one case is centered in Clark County, which has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the state, with about one in four children not receiving their vaccinations. Outside of the family noted above, there are no reports of secondary cases of measles.

A bill supported by some Democrats in the state Legislature's majority would ban all non-medical exemptions from vaccination requirements for children in NY. But it is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travelers infected overseas can bring the virus back and spread it, causing periodic outbreaks.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the U.S.

California state Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician who sponsored his state's bill, said he got death threats over it and had anti-vaccination advocates jam his phone lines and harass him on social media.

"We love to normally get out of the house, we go on trips to Target, out to eat, and we've just kind of been staying inside". She said the legislation would "bring a hammer down and threaten people instead of allowing them to make informed decisions".

Measles symptoms include high fever, cough, red and watery eyes, and a rash that usually appears around three days after symptoms first manifest.

Jocelyn Smith, of Camas, Washington, said she called her doctor's office to seek advice about her 11-month-old son Mason, who has not yet had the measles vaccine. However, now that consequences of these choices have spread, anti-vaxx parents are storming their brains for ways to protect their children (this should be the updated dictionary definition of cognitive dissonance).

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