Washington Calls Statewide Emergency Over Measles

Henrietta Brewer
January 30, 2019

In Washington, the governor has declared a state of emergency after the CDC confirmed 26 cases of the measles.

Washington Department of Health officials announced that as of Monday afternoon there have been 36 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases of the disease. Twenty-four of the cases were in children between 1 and 10 years old. Eighteen American states, including Washington and OR, allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children due to "philosophical beliefs", reports CBS News.

Public health officials scrambling to contain a measles outbreak in the U.S. Northwest warned people to vaccinate their children Monday and anxious that it could take months to contain the highly contagious viral illness due to a lower-than-normal vaccination rate at the epicenter of the crisis.

Clark County, the heart of the measles outbreak, has a vaccination rate of only 84.5 percent for kindergarteners when it comes to the measles.

The BCCDC says while most travellers will be immune to measles, those that aren't will be susceptible to a highly infectious disease spread through the air by coughing and sneezing.

It could be weeks or even months before the "exquisitely contagious" virus runs its course in Washington, Dr. Alan Melnick, the Clark County health officer, said Friday.

Who cares if measles are the most contagious of any disease known to man.

The CDC also noted that the virus can be prevented with the MMR vaccine.

Since then nine new cases have been confirmed, all in Clark County, which borders Portland, Ore., creating concern in that state as well.

On Jan. 16 health officials out of Denver alerted the public of a measles exposure in Colorado.

Adults can be immunized for the measles if they did not receive the two shots needed as a child.

"This is something I've predicted for a while now", he says of the situation in Clark County. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of non-vaccinated individuals exposed to someone with the disease will also become infected.

People are contagious with measles for up to four days before and up to four days after the rash appears.

Every time an unvaccinated person who has been exposed to measles goes out in public, "it starts that clock over again", Armstrong said.

Earlier this week, authorities were successful in identifying several people who had been exposed but were not sick yet. It can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, and can be deadly.

Washington state officials are now beginning the arduous and costly task of tracking down everyone who might have been exposed to the infection and cautioning them to be on the alert for symptoms, including runny nose, red eyes, fever and rash.

Other reports by iNewsToday