State of emergency declared in USA measles outbreak

Henrietta Brewer
January 28, 2019

Armstrong said Clark County Public Health will provide daily updates pertaining to the ongoing measles investigation. Under Inslee's declaration, state agencies can use all available resources to help affected areas and additional medical resources can be requested from other states.

Portland is in this county.

"Routinely we don't vaccinate children prior to the age of one, so infants are likely to be susceptible, especially after about four to six months of age", she says.

With an outbreak of measles centered in Clark County, Gov. Jay Inslee Friday announced a state of emergency, calling the situation an "extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties".


The county released a list of public places where infected children visited, which included several schools and churches, the Portland, Oregon airport and a Costco. The CDC says in the province children receive two doses of measles-containing vaccine during routine immunization.

As of Saturday, there were 31 cases of the measles in Clark County, which sits on the state's southern border, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.

The disease was declared eliminated in the USA in 2000 but has since made a comeback that is tied to imported cases and the rise of the anti-vaccine movement. Public health officials are focused for now on preventing more exposures.

The majority of those infected are children, many of whom have not been immunized against the disease, officials said. "Fortunately, the measles vaccine is very effective". No cases related to the Clark County outbreak have been reported in the province, but B.C.'s vaccination rate now sits below the 95 per cent necessary to achieve herd immunity.


Measles is a contagious virus that spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. The measles vaccine consists of two shots, one given by age 2 and the second usually between ages 4 and 6.

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.

Measles can lead to serious complications including pneumonia but the vaccine is up to 97 percent effective and protects recipients for life.

Ninety percent of people exposed to measles who have not been vaccinated will get it, public health officials said.


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