Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Medical | By

Northwest US Measles Cases Prompt Look At Vaccine Exemptions

Northwest US Measles Cases Prompt Look At Vaccine Exemptions

There have been 38 confirmed and 13 suspected cases so far.

Unsurprisingly, the same people who peddled anti-science myths about vaccines causing autism, have also bolstered the idea that vaccines are a personal choice and not a public health responsibility.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is outlining the scope of the outbreak, and detailing what can be done to stop it in its tracks. Vaccinations are free for children and low cost for adults at area hospitals through a partnership with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, as well, which partners with Mary Bridge Children's Hospital's free vaccination clinics for children.

There were 38 confirmed cases in Washington and OR in 2018.

Health officials traced the outbreak in Washington to an unvaccinated global traveler and they said they're seeing about five new cases each day. Therefore, a massive measles outbreak in the USA got traction due to the anti-vaxxer movement.


Dr. Sheffield said that a population has to be 95 percent vaccinated before it's possible to keep people from being infected.

Four percent of Washington secondary school students have non-medical vaccine exemptions. The King County measles case involved a middle-aged man who visited Clark County where he likely contracted the virus and has since recovered.

'So it's like taking a lighted match and throwing it into a bucket of gasoline, basically, ' he said. One person has been hospitalized, and the governor of Washington has declared a state of emergency. And the potentially deadly disease is making a comeback mostly in unvaccinated children: Of the total reported cases, 32 were in unvaccinated people, 25 of whom were children under the age of 10. They have since returned home.

The most serious risk is to children who haven't yet received all of their vaccines, and others who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons (for example, because their immune system is suppressed due to another illness). The vaccine itself is incredible effective, and prevents measles in 97% of people. There hasn't been a case of measles in North Dakota since 2011, according to the Department of Health. In addition, two people fell ill in Hawaii, having travelled from Washington, where they were infected.

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