Washington Measles Outbreak Spreads

Measles is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or through the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Washington and NY, which has seen about 200 people infected with measles in recent months, are the only states with current outbreaks, the agency says.

Vaccination rates for measles, mumps and rubella in Ukraine fell sharply over a number of years during its conflict with Russian Federation, reaching 31% in 2016 - among the lowest in the world.

A case of measles was confirmed in Denton County on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to seven. Severe complications include pneumonia, which can be fatal, and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), which can lead to convulsions, hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities in children.

Demand for measles vaccine has surged in Clark County, where the highly contagious virus is linked to more than 50 confirmed illnesses this year - including among people who had previously shunned the shots.

So far in the US this year, about 80 cases of measles have been reported, with two outbreaks ongoing in Washington and NY states. "Unfortunately, people think that measles is just a rash and fever but measles can cause serious health concerns, especially in young children, and is highly contagious".

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

Washington and OR are among 17 states that allow nonmedical exemptions from vaccination requirements for school entry, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Measles infections in Europe hit a decade high in 2018, despite more children than ever before receiving vaccinations. Orders of measles vaccines in the county reached 3,150 in January.

Health clinics are scrambling to keep up with sudden demand, mostly among parents of children in Southwest Washington who had not been inoculated.

But it's a snapshot of the scare an outbreak can cause, said Dr. Alan Melnick, the Clark County health officer overseeing the response.

Children can be vaccinated once they are 12 months old. There have been calls in recent years for Canada to start a national registry to help officials keep better track of vaccination rates.

The best way to prevent measles infection is with 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.

Vanessa Coleman

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