Scope of the Measles Outbreak and Why It's Worsening

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The measles outbreak that has sickened 38 people in Washington state has spread to Hawaii and OR by travelers with the highly-contagious disease. Although Chelan and Douglas Counties do not now have a confirmed case of measles, public health officials are working closely with school districts and healthcare providers to ensure students and staff are up to-date on their vaccines. The highest number of infections there in over two decades and more cases are popping up in states across the U.S.

The CDC advises those who believe they are infected should stay home for four days after developing the rash to minimize the likelihood of spreading the disease.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency last Friday. The agency said that one dose of the vaccine is about 93 percent effective at prevention, two doses raise the efficacy to 97 percent.

Director of Whitman County Public Health Troy Henderson said there are no known or suspected cases on the east side of the state.


In New York, they've had more than 200 cases since October.

Measles was the No. 1 killer of children worldwide before the vaccine was made available in 1963.

Thirty-one of the confirmed patients had not been vaccinated against measles.

Clark County, Washington, has a vaccination rate of 78 percent, well below the level necessary to protect those with compromised immune systems or who can't get vaccinated because of medical issues or because they are too young.


Though being unvaccinated obviously left the sick individuals vulnerable to the disease, but those cases have not been connected to the Washington state outbreak and it is unclear how they contracted it. After three to five days, a rash usually begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. If you haven't had the vaccination already, or if you aren't sure whether you have, you can likely still get it. "I'm just so scared", she said.

The North Dakota Department of Health said officials will aid in an epidemiological investigation of the outbreak to identify who has been exposed to the disease and how it's being spread.

However, some parents are concerned their children are not eligible for the vaccinations.

Symptoms of measles can often be similar to cold or flu symptoms, including: fever, diarrhea, coughing, runny nose, red and watery eyes, and fatigue.


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