Washington Measles Outbreak Spreads

06 February, 2019, 04:55 | Author: Norman Carr
  • Tribune editorial Don’t fall for anti-vax scare campaigns

The measles outbreak in the Pacific northwest is worsening: 51 confirmed and nine suspected cases.

The health department said there are two other potential cases of measles that are pending as they wait for test results.

"In a given year, more measles cases can occur for any of the following reasons: an increase in the number of travelers who get measles overseas and bring it into the US and/or further spread of measles in USA communities with pockets of unvaccinated people", the CDC website says.

The Central District Health Department says symptoms include fever, cough, red eyes, sore throat, runny nose and a rash that can spread over the body.

Three measles cases were confirmed in Harris County, one in Montgomery County and another in Galveston County.

Measles is an airborne disease which is highly contagious but it is preventable.

According to the Mayo Clinic, people who are unvaccinated, travel to developing countries or have a vitamin A deficiency are more likely to catch the measles.

Though Washington State is thousands of miles away, it doesn't mean health officials locally are taking the situation lightly.

"There's a reason why the World Health Organization and the CDC came out in the early 2000s to say that measles is nearly eradicated in the sense that, you know it pops up every once in a while". Most children in the United States are vaccinated, with 91% of 19-to-35 month-olds having at least one dose and about 94% of those entering kindergarten having two doses.

Democratic Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver, a co-signer on the bill, said she would prefer an even broader proposal, but "right now we're looking at what we can get moved". Two doses are about 97% effective.

"The measles vaccine isn't flawless, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness", Melnick said. "Herd immunity works by slowing down disease transmission through a community of vaccinated people". Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis is a progressive, usually fatal brain disorder occurring months to years after infection with measles.

Most of the time, as with other childhood viruses, people weather it fine, but there can be complications.

So how do people die of the measles?

Dr. Shamard Charles is a physician-journalist for NBC News and Today, reporting on health policy, public health initiatives, diversity in medicine, and new developments in health care research and medical treatments. "They are miserable and very sick-appearing", she said.

But 100 years later, the disease had become rare indeed, until the distrust of vaccines led more parents to opt not to have their kids immunized.

Also in 2017, The Columbian newspaper reported that 22 percent of kindergarten students had not completed their required immunizations when they started school that year.



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