As of Sunday, there are 35 confirmed cases of measles in the state of Washington - an outbreak that has already prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency. Authorities in neighboring OR and Idaho have issued warnings.
Thirty-one patients had not been vaccinated against measles, and the status of four others who were infected is not known. One person has been hospitalized in the outbreak.
In the Clark County cases, numerous infected folks visited hubs in the community where there are larger crowds.
Most of the cases involved children younger than 10, the Clark County Public Health Department said in a statement.
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.
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Vaccination rates in OR and Southwest Washington, where measles first broke out, are comparatively low.
Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the U.S. "Being vaccinated provides very good protection against the measles". It is paramount that no more people get infected and that the outbreak is contained. Unfortunately, it can quickly establish itself again in communities where vaccination rates are low - such as certain segments of Humboldt County. Neurological disorders and swelling, deafness and compromised immune systems are some of the problems people could face even years after recovering from the measles.
"If you put a case of measles into a highly unvaccinated population, it can spread like wildfire", he said. "And then you see another generation of cases", he said.
"We already send the letters to the parents", said principal Andrey Dolbinin.
In 2000, measles was considered eradicated in the United States, thanks to vaccination.
Here's why the current outbreak in Washington is a flawless example of what can happen when parents do not vaccinate their children for philosophical or religious reasons - and how exactly that can put their own kids, and others, at risk. The first MMR dose is recommended at 12 months, the second at 4 to 6 years old. Infected droplets from the individual with measles can spray into the air or land on a surface, where they remain active and contagious for hours. 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.