Washington Calls Statewide Emergency Over Measles

Health officials expect the number of cases to continue to rise.

Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that the outbreak in Clark County "creates an extreme public health risk" that could spread throughout the state.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, just over 77 percent Washington state kindergartners were unvaccinated because of personal exemptions. Authorities in neighboring OR and Idaho have issued warnings.

According to the Mayo Clinic, measles spreads when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or talks near other people. There are also nine suspected cases in Clark County.

And public health officials like Sammons have expressed concern over the small but growing number of unvaccinated children in the United States.

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.

According to the Clark County Department of Public Health's investigation, at least 30 of its recorded cases were in people who were not immunized against the virus.

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In the US last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles. "Many state courts have weighed in and the right to practice a religion, the right to choose, does not include the liberty to expose a community or a child to a disease", Harris said. Although it's not clear where he became infected, the man said he'd recently traveled to Clark County.

If you feel like you may have the measles, make sure you call the doctor before you go in for a visit so they can protect others from contracting the viral illness.

Washington and OR are among the country's many states that allow parents with a personal OR philosophical objection to decline the measles vaccination, among some others.

Cieslak said the incubation period for measles lasts about two weeks. One dose is about 93 percent effective. Inslee notes, "Almost everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed". The measles vaccine consists of two shots, one given by age 2 and the second usually between ages 4 and 6. It can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space.

Both Washington and OR allow vaccine exemptions for personal and philosophical reasons. The disease is contagious from approximately four days before the characteristic rash appears to four days after the rash appears.

"There are people who are resistant to getting vaccinated", Koenig said. General symptoms are fever, diarrhea, coughing, runny nose, red and watery eyes and tiredness.

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