The anti-vax movement's role in the latest measles outbreak

03 February, 2019, 19:42 | Author: Norman Carr
  • Measles Outbreak Got Traction Due To Anti Vaxxer Movement

The measles outbreak that has sickened 38 people in Washington state has spread to Hawaii and OR by travelers with the highly-contagious disease.

Across the state, 40 people were diagnosed with measles in January, and there have been at 186 cases since October, with the largest number of cases in Rockland, state health officials said. Since Jan. 1, we have identified 42 confirmed cases and seven suspect cases.

People may have been exposed to the disease at about four dozen locations, including Portland International Airport and a Portland Trail Blazers game, officials said.

Washington state declared a state of emergency last week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 90 percent of unvaccinated people exposed to the measles virus come down with the disease. "The recommended two doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection - 97 percent". There has been no connection made between the outbreak in Washington and the three cases in Georgia.

Measles is extremely contagious, and can be serious, especially for young children. But it is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travelers infected overseas can bring the virus back and spread it, causing periodic outbreaks.

Two children who traveled to Hawaii were not contagious when they flew, Melnick said, and they were quarantined in the islands once they arrived. If you haven't had the vaccination already, or if you aren't sure whether you have, you can likely still get it.

California state Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician who sponsored his state's bill, said he got death threats over it and had anti-vaccination advocates jam his phone lines and harass him on social media. Before mass vaccination, 400 to 500 people in the US died of the measles every year. People are contagious long before they show symptoms and nearly everyone who is not immune through vaccinations will get measles if they are exposed to the virus.

Measles symptoms begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that usually begins at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. "And a few days after that, you get that famous rash", explained Alok Patel, MD, a pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.



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