Major measles outbreak strikes anti-vaxxer stronghold in Washington state

Hailshadow  iStock

Hailshadow iStock

The outbreak in Clark County, home to about 475,000 people and located northeast of Portland, Oregon, prompted health officials to declare a public health emergency last week.

In Clark County, there have been 23 confirmed cases of the highly contagious viral infection identified since January 1, with 18 cases among children younger than 11 and just one involving a person over 18. The outlet reported that 7.9 percent of children in Clark County were exempt in the 2017-2018 school year from vaccines required for kindergarten entry, making it a hotspot for outbreaks. Of that eight percent, about seven percent were due to personal or religious exemptions, with the remaining due to medical exemptions.

Another young child has been confirmed with measles in a growing outbreak among unvaccinated children in southwestern Washington. It is highly contagious and spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus travels through the air and can stay up to two hours in the air of a room where a person with measles has been... According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that patient who have not received immunization will also become infected.

Several health care facilities were listed as places of possible exposure locations with times dating back to December 31 and as recently as January 19. It includes health care facilities, churches, schools, Concourse D and the Delta Sky Lounge of Portland International Airport, an Ikea, Dollar Tree stores, the Moda Center during a Trail Blazers' game, and Amazon Lockers.

"It's really terrible and really tragic and totally preventable", Peter J. Hotez told the Post. Hotez is a professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "Portland is a total train wreck when it comes to vaccine rates", he added. One of the children was hospitalized, and an additional two cases are suspected.

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