Published: Thu, January 31, 2019
Medical | By Mark Scott

Measles outbreak in the northwest, 1 confirmed case in Colorado

Measles outbreak in the northwest, 1 confirmed case in Colorado

County officials, including Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, are reminding residents that the measles outbreak continues in Rockland and that residents who have not received a vaccine should do so.

The current state of emergency in Washington state points to the danger-on the basis of unsubstantiated and antiscientific theories-of measles and other diseases, long thought to be eradicated in North America and Europe, to reemerge.

"If you put a case of measles into a highly unvaccinated population, it can spread like wildfire", he said. According to the Oregon Health Authority, some of the cases in Oregon have been linked to the outbreak in Washington. The agency noted the outbreaks were associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel.

Public health officials struggling to contain the highly contagious virus say the outbreak is a textbook example of why it's critical to vaccinate against childhood diseases. Inslee notes, "Almost everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed".

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

Because the virus lives in the nose and throat of an infected person, it can spread to others though coughing and sneezing.

Among the 35 cases of measles in Clark County this year, 34 were reportedly unimmunized.

The CDC released data earlier this month that showed 2018 was the second worst year for measles in the United States since 2000, with 349 cases reported in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

But there has been a recent rise in unvaccinated children.

Washington state epidemiologist Scott Lindquist told NPR that this is likely only the beginning of the epidemic because numerous families with infected children traveled to very public places, including Costco, Ikea, the Portland International Airport and the basketball arena where the Portland Trail Blazers play.

Health and Welfare is also encouraging people make sure their vaccinations are up to date. Measles vaccine does not cause measles illness.

Adults should have at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Vaccination with 2 doses of MMR is required to attend schools and colleges in CT, however, students with medical or religious exemptions may attend school without being vaccinated. If you have a fever and a rash and you think you might have measles, you should avoid public settings and telephone your healthcare provider BEFORE going directly to a healthcare facility so steps can be taken to avoid possibly exposing others. These exemptions have made OR and Washington "more susceptible to entirely preventable outbreaks", he told Vox. Wakefield was the senior author of a now retracted 1998 Lancet study linking autism to the MMR vaccine.

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