Northwest US Measles Cases Prompt Look At Vaccine Exemptions

Faith Castro
February 2, 2019

At least 44 people in Washington and OR have fallen ill in recent weeks with the extraordinarily contagious virus, which was eradicated in the 2000 as a result of immunization but arrives periodically with overseas travelers. And two Clark County cases traveled to Hawaii recently, but most likely didn't create any exposures during their trip, according to Public Health.

Measles cases have been on the rise in the U.S.

"There are 40 confirmed cases in the Northwest, including 38 clustered in southwest Washington, one in Portland and one in Seattle".

In New York, they've had more than 200 cases since October. In fact, according to the CDC, just one dose of the MMR vaccine is 93 percent effective against measles. "It's still out there, even though it's been debunked, that the measles vaccine results in autism". For more information about the measles outbreak, check out this FAQ from Jackson County Public Health, or follow the or and Washington state investigation.

Failure to vaccinate children lowers what is known as the "herd immunity" of any given population, making it much easier for diseases to spread between individuals who haven't been vaccinated.

And in the USA, 18 states allow parents to opt-out of vaccinations for personal beliefs.

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The best protection against measles is the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. There has been no connection made between the outbreak in Washington and the three cases in Georgia. Another anti-vaccination group, Informed Choice Washington, had its members at the statehouse on Thursday trying to dissuade lawmakers.

Florida is one of 17 states that allows the exemption based on religious grounds. Thus, the anti-vaxxers refuse to immunize their kids against some of the most prevalent diseases, including the measles virus. Anyone who is not vaccinated against rubella is at risk of getting the disease. The recommended two doses bring that immunity up to 97 percent.

"My 3-year-old is not vaccinated and there is now a measles outbreak in my state", she wrote, according toBored Panda.

On the darkest day of 2018, the winter solstice, we at the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh tweeted, with despair, a report in the Guardian that measles cases in Europe reached the highest number in 20 years. In some people, especially people who have chronic medical problems, are pregnant, or are malnourished, measles also leads to serious problems such as pneumonia, brain damage, blindness, deafness, and death.

Early symptoms include a fever, runny nose and malaise, followed by a rash that starts around the head and moves down the body.

Nearly everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed to the measles virus.

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