There's A State Of Emergency In Washington Thanks To Anti-Vax Parents

A hospital security worker who declined to be identified stands at a door at Peace Health Southwest

Measles outbreak prompts state of emergency declaration by Washington governor

The Clark County Department of Public Health in Washington is now investigating a measles outbreak impacting almost three dozen people.

Over the last few years, flu vaccination effectiveness rate has hovered around 40 percent, which may lead to confusion about other vaccines. Nine were in children between 11 and 18 years old.

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

If a high percentage of a given population are immunized against a disease, vaccines can protect event those who are not immune. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of non-vaccinated individuals exposed to someone with the disease will also become infected.

But the US actually eliminated measles once upon a time: Less than two decades ago, only a small number of Americans still contracted the disease by traveling overseas (or coming in contact with those who had). There were no reserves of the virus in the country. Anti-vaccination movements are eroding that progress.

Since the declaration was made, the number of infected individuals has risen to 35, one in King County and 34 in Clark County. Rates have leveled off in some, but in six they're still on an upward trajectory with no signs of stopping.

Vaccination rates in OR and Southwest Washington, where measles first broke out, are comparatively low.

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And once there are pockets of disease, the possibility of a measles outbreak increases.

Two confirmed cases of measles in Hawaii were in unvaccinated children who traveled to Hawaii from Washington state. "Being vaccinated provides very good protection against the measles".

In Friday's statement from the office, Inslee said, "Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children".

The threat also spread in the past few days; Deschutes County officials say someone visiting Bend on January 19 and 20 may have brought measles with them. The measles vaccine is 98 percent effective. The list includes locations outside of Washington-the Portland IKEA is on there, as is a Trader Joe's in Vancouver.

If you may have been exposed and are experiencing symptoms, immediately notify your healthcare provider BY TELEPHONE explaining a possible measles exposure and symptoms.

If for some reason you haven't gotten your MMR shot, go get one immediately.

She also warned doctors to watch for patients with "rash illness and consider and report potential measles infection especially in unimmunized persons", according to the Star Advertiser. "It's all hands on deck", Alan Melnick, the county health officer, tells the AP "Clearly this is going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it wouldn't surprise me if we were in the seven figures by the time we're done here".

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