Friday, 22 February, 2019


Washington state measles outbreak hits 23, mostly affecting unvaccinated children

Patty Aguilar | 25 January, 2019, 18:25

Health officials in one county in Washington have declared a public health emergency because of an outbreak of measles that has infected 22 people so far. Factoring in the rest of the population, the county is below the 92 percent to 94 percent range some experts consider required to prevent the spread of highly contagious diseases such as measles.

"Public Health is continuing to identify and contact potential measles cases, and identify possible locations of public exposure", Washington county officials said, noting that the emergency declaration will help them fight the virus and access resources outside the region. Most cases reported since 2000 have been among people who were not vaccinated, the CDC says, and an uptick in cases in any given year may be the result of the virus spreading in communities with "pockets of unvaccinated people".

At least thirty eight schools in Seattle have a rate of 90 percent or below for measles immunizations.

While some children can not be fully vaccinated for medical reasons, others skip the shots due to their parents' religious or philosophical beliefs.

But Jeffrey Duchin, head of King County public health, warned that's an average.

In an update posted to Clark County's website on Tuesday, officials said 18 cases were confirmed in patients ages 1 to 10, while four occurred in patients ages 11 to 18, and one was confirmed in a patient between 19 and 29. Measles causes encephalitis and pneumonia and before mass vaccination began in the 1980s, measles killed almost 2.6 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization.

There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control. An outbreak is generally defined as three or more linked cases of measles infections. "Portland is a total train wreck when it comes to vaccine rates", he added.

Call a health care provider promptly if they develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash between January 16 and February 6, 2019. The encephalitis, when it didn't kill them, sometimes left people deaf or with brain damage. Eighteen had not been immunized, and it's unclear whether the remaining three were. But a series of outbreaks in recent years is evidence of unsafe backsliding in containment of the virus, Hotez said, blaming the anti-vaccination movement. Orthodox Jewish communities were at the center of a series of outbreaks past year in NY and New Jersey, after unvaccinated travelers brought the virus back from Israel, which was battling an outbreak.

Portland, Oregon is suffering a public health emergency as increasing numbers of residents become infected with measles.

"In 2018, 349 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 26 states and the District of Columbia". The reasons for the rise in new measles cases are related to increased travels to areas where measles is more common, as well as the vulnerability of communities in the US where people choose not to vaccinate their families against the disease.

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