Measles Outbreak 2019: What Are the Symptoms, How Does It Spread?

Most of the infections have occurred in the Clark County, in southwest Washington.

With at least one confirmed case of measles in Colorado there's growing concern not too far in the northwest part of the country.

So why the emergency declaration?

Who cares if measles are the most contagious of any disease known to man. There were almost 350 measles cases recorded a year ago in 26 states and the District of Columbia, the second greatest number since the disease was eliminated in 2000.

These states have particularly high levels - or "hot spots" - of unvaccinated children and are vulnerable to measles outbreaks, according to a study by Hotez and his colleagues that published a year ago. Measles is an incredibly savage disease that still kills more than a hundred thousand people a year, a lot of them children. And most of those kids are un-immunized.

The outbreak near Portland has sickened 35 people in OR and Washington since January 1, with 11 more cases suspected. One child has been hospitalized. The CDC attributed the jump to primarily unvaccinated people in the Orthodox Jewish communities in New York state, New York City and New Jersey. The vaccination status for the remaining four is, for now, unclear. It's spread through those common winter companions, sneezing and coughing. The typical recommendations are that children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, the first between 12 to 15 months of age and the second at 4 through 6 years old.

In Clark County, however, vaccination rates have been dropping. "Measles may cause a pregnant woman to give birth prematurely".

Sparling says the clinic recently created a measles task force that meets daily. "The best protection against measles is vaccination".

'It's this disgusting self-inflicted wound that never should have happened'. Measles was also a leading cause of death for children globally.

"He's on house arrest", she said.

Measles was once a deadly disease among American children until a vaccine for it became available in 1963. Officials believe the person was traveling internationally when they were exposed to measles.

Since the outbreak began in Clark County, there have also been confirmed measles cases in the Seattle area, and Multnomah County, Ore. However, up to 40 percent of patients have complications, usually occurring in children under five, adults over 20, and anyone who is undernourished or immunocompromised.

Misinformation is circulating on social media, said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County public health director. "They're not going to be protected".

The Associated Press reports that two confirmed cases of measles in Hawaii were in unvaccinated children who traveled to Hawaii from Washington state. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

"If you have a child that you think has been exposed to measles and has developed symptoms, it's important to call your doctor's office before you go in, just to make sure you don't expose anyone in the waiting room to the disease", she said.

  • Joanne Flowers