Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Washington under state of emergency as measles cases rise

Measles outbreak prompts state of emergency declaration by Washington governor Washington measles outbreak is causing concern among Idaho health officials
Ben Pena | 29 January, 2019, 18:36

Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday declared a state of emergency in light of a cluster of measles cases, mostly in southwestern Washington, that is being declared an outbreak and a public-health crisis.

But for those people who choose not to vaccinate their kids, one state lawmaker is trying to change that.

As the cases increase in these communities, we sit down with Dr. Julia S. Sammons, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical director of the Department of Infection Prevention and Control at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, to talk about some of the most common questions about the illness. The majority of the cases involve children younger than 10.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the U.S. They anxious that it could take months to contain the highly contagious viral illness due to a lower-than-normal vaccination rate at the epicentre of the crisis. Measles can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and even simply by breathing.

"We should all be anxious when a vaccine-preventable illness is coming back into our country", Sammons said.

Anyone who believes they may have been exposed should first check their own immunization status, then watch for symptoms.

"Anti-vaxxer" parents and activists in Washington and nearby OR have been calling on the states to not require the measles vaccines.

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Before mass vaccination, 400 to 500 people in the United States died of the measles every year, 50,000 people were hospitalized and 4,000 people developed brain swelling that can cause deafness, Melnick said.

Clark County Public Health has identified 35 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases since January 1, when it first began investigating the outbreak. Because some people like to claim personal exemptions to getting the vaccine.

As of Monday there 35 confirmed cases in Clark County and one case in King County.

The first vaccine gives you a 93 percent protection against the measles and the second dose raises the effectiveness to 97 percent. The disease is contagious from approximately four days before the characteristic rash appears to four days after the rash appears.

Every time an unvaccinated person who has been exposed to measles goes out in public, "it starts that clock over again", Armstrong said. Those people stayed home and later got ill, Armstrong said.

Measles usually manifests as a combination of high fever, as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit, along with what is known as the three Cs: cough, coryza (another word for runny nose), and conjunctivitis or pink eye, Sammons explained. Serious complications such pneumonia and brain infections can arise from the disease in some cases.

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