Published: Wed, February 06, 2019
Health Care | By Terrence Lopez

Local health officials urge people to get measles vaccine

Local health officials urge people to get measles vaccine

The outbreak in Clark County, Washington, involves 49 confirmed cases of measles and nine suspected cases, according to local public health officials.

Health officials are urging anyone who has been exposed at an identified location and believes they have symptoms of measles to call their health care provider prior to visiting the medical office to make a plan that avoids exposing others in the waiting room.

All individuals are children that were either not vaccinated or had not completed the vaccine series. Clark County Public Health says they are not releasing that person's identity in order to protect their privacy.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases in the United States.

Dr. Ricardo Maldonado, infectious disease specialist at East Alabama Medical Center, said the viral illness is very contagious and can be transmitted by coughing or sneezing, then coming into contact with another person.

However, there are 11 people who display symptoms of measles and are awaiting the results of blood work to confirm the diagnosis.

If you are unsure of your family's immunization status, you can view, download and print your family's immunization information online at or request a copy of your immunization record from the Washington State Department of Health. A measles infection can cause low vitamin A levels even in well-nourished kids, so supplements can help restore normal levels as the body heals, while helping prevent eye damage and blindness. Older children and adults, even if they've never been vaccinated, may have developed natural immunity through previous infections.

"If your child has received all the scheduled immunizations including the 12-to-15 month MMR vaccine and the vaccine between 4 and 6 years of age - for pre-kindergarten", Missoula Dr. Lauren Wilson explained. Doctors say one dose of the MMR [measles, mumps, rubela] vaccine is about 93 percent effective.

As concerning as measles outbreaks are, she also reminds parents that many other viruses are far more common. Two doses ups the effectiveness to 97 percent. "What I see as a physician is that you would be neglecting the people you love the most".

Despite the high number of patients, De Guzman clarified that the hospital is still taking in more patients with measles. "So when you think about parents bringing their children in for immunizations, it's not a disease that looms large in your memory". Anti-vaccination paranoia is now a clear indication that our society has regressed.

Before widespread use of the vaccine, measles led to more than 2 million deaths a year, according to WHO.

She said there have been two cases of measles in 29 years in Auburn and both were not vaccinated.

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