Northwest Measles Outbreak Revives Debate Over Vaccine Laws

Henrietta Brewer
February 2, 2019

About 94 percent of students in Ada County and 95 percent in Canyon County are assumed to be immunized, based on exemption records for their schools.

Oregon's governor had some choice words about the ongoing measles outbreak in the Portland region when she spoke at a forum in Bend on Friday. At least 43 people in Washington and OR have fallen ill in recent weeks with the extraordinarily contagious virus. The length of time children or staff are required to stay out of school is 21 days after the last reported case. In Oregon, which has a similar law, 7.5 percent of kindergarteners in 2018 were missing shots for non-medical reasons. There has been no connection made between the outbreak in Washington and the three cases in Georgia.

"People are feeling extremely oppressed and feeling like they can't make an educated decision", said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the group.


California is one of the few states that stripped away personal belief vaccine exemptions for children in both public and private schools. "The rate of measles in the USA recently jumped from an average of 60 cases a year to 205 cases annually", the Mayo Clinic says.

The anti-vaccination movement - where tragically misguided parents are led to believe that vaccines against childhood illnesses are responsible for conditions like autism - is leading to exactly what doctors have always said it would.

Measles symptoms begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that usually begins at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Before mass vaccination, 400 to 500 people in the US died of the measles every year. In some people, especially people who have chronic medical problems, are pregnant, or are malnourished, measles also leads to serious problems such as pneumonia, brain damage, blindness, deafness, and death.


Patients are contagious four days before and four days after getting the rash.

Nine out of 10 unvaccinated people who are exposed will get the disease. And the worst part of the measles outbreak would be that this virus is deadly for the majority of newborns and individuals with a weak immune system.


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