February 21, 2019

Growing measles outbreak in Washington spreading fear among parents

29 January 2019, 06:36 | Silvia Roy

Growing measles outbreak in Washington spreading fear among parents

Washington measles outbreak is causing concern among Idaho health officials

As the number of confirmed measles cases in Southwest Washington and OR grew to 36 cases, health authorities said Monday that their biggest concern is low vaccination rates in schools and the possibility that the crisis could stretch out for months.

NY state is facing its worst outbreak in decades, with more than 200 cases.

"Measles is a highly contagious disease that can spread quickly among unvaccinated people". The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists. Between one and three cases out of every 1,000 are fatal, he said.

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Twenty-six of the confirmed patients had not been vaccinated against measles, and the vaccination status of four other patients is unknown. Data from a National Immunization Survey also revealed that the number of children reaching age 2 without having received any vaccinations has increased gradually, from 0.9% for children born in 2011 to 1.3% for children born in 2015.

Officials in OR and Idaho have issued warnings.

"We make a lot of decisions in our life around parenting; unfortunately, this is one that not only impacts the decision you have made for your child but also impacts other children and persons around them", Sammons added.

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The measles vaccine has been part of routine childhood shots for decades, and measles was declared eliminated in the 2000.

In the US last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles.

The first known patients in this outbreak sought medical care on December 31, but officials don't know if other people may have gotten sick before that and did not seek treatment, the AP reported.

The measles virus spreads through coughing and sneezing and can live in the air where an infected person coughed or sneezed for up to two hours.

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Children receive the first vaccine between 12 and 15 months old and the second vaccine between ages 4 and 6. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are 97 percent effective, while just one dose is about 93 percent effective, the CDC said. Ninety per cent of people exposed to measles who have not been vaccinated will get it, health officials said. Nine were in children between 11 and 18 years old. The symptoms include fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, conjunctivitis, tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background inside the inner linking of the cheek, and a skin rash.

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