Published: Wed, January 30, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

State bill introduced to nix personal exemptions for measles vaccine

State bill introduced to nix personal exemptions for measles vaccine

"Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children", Inslee said in his proclamation on Friday, adding that these cases create "an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties".

Health officials in OR have raised concerns that the virus could easily cross the border.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reports that symptoms typically surface a week to two weeks after an individual becomes infected with measles, which is why people are unlikely to know they're infected right away and may spread it themselves. Among the people in Clark County, 30 of them are unvaccinated, 24 are children under the age of 10, nine are between 11 and 18 years old, and one person is between 19 and 29 years of age.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 34 confirmed cases of measles in Clark County, just north of Portland, Oregon, and one in King County, which includes Seattle. The first known patient sought medical care on December 31, but it is unknown if other people may have gotten sick before that and did not seek treatment.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the U.S.

Clark County has already spent more than $100,000 trying to contain the outbreak, and staff is being pulled from other duties, including restaurant inspections, he said. The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists.

"While we do want to have a heightened level of concern and be aware of measles, there are many more much more common viruses that are circulating", she said.

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"The bottom line is, there's no surprise we're seeing this right now", Melnick said. "These costs could have been prevented if we had everybody vaccinated". It is highly contagious and spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Both Washington and OR allow vaccine exemptions for personal and philosophical reasons.

Clark County's immunization rate for school-aged children is 78 percent, and a large majority of these cases were in children who were not vaccinated.

Two doses of the vaccine in childhood are 97 percent effective and provide lifetime immunity. Patients remain contagious for four days after they develop the rash.

Most of the people who have contracted the disease were not vaccinated. Those people stayed home and later got ill, Armstrong said.

Measles is caused by a virus that presents as fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by full body rash of tiny red spots, according to the CDC.

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