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Measles outbreaks rise in test requests in Clark County

The growing measles eruption in Clark County has led to an increase in the number of residents who are being tested for immunity to the virus. Several local blood testing laboratories and clinics reported a significant increase in the number of tests performed in recent weeks.

According to marketing director Chastell Ely, the Vancouver Clinic has more than increased tenfold the number of test visits to the four urgent care locations in Clark County.

"Normally, we average between 20 and 50 tests a month," she said Friday. "So far we have reached more than 500 in January."

The method known as titertest analyzes a patient's blood sample to determine the presence of specific antibodies needed to ward off infection. In some versions, only measles resistance is tested, while other tests are combined with a test for mumps and rubella resistance, similar to the MMR vaccine against all three viruses.

"We have seen a dramatic increase in immunity testing last Thursday," said Eileen Morton, Laboratory Director at Any Lab Test Now's Fourth Plain Boulevard office, which offers fast measles immunity tests worth only $ 50 The results are usually available the following day.

The measles laboratory test rate has increased by at least 70 percent, she said Most of the subjects were adults over the age of 30 who have not found evidence of their immunizations in their medical records Morton said, and many of them are contract workers in places like the day Doctors need to prove their immunity before they get back to work.

Residents can also call their family doctor to set up the tests, Morton said However, clinics like Any Lab Test Now are another option for people brewing results as fast as possible The clinic expects the increased test rate to continue until the current outbreak is under control, Morton said.

If the blood test is susceptible to measles, the lab also offers an MMR vaccine. The vaccine is also available at many commercial pharmacies such as Walgreens and Safeway.

Not every clinic has experienced the same upswing; The Arcpoint Labs office near the Vancouver Mall also offers measles testing, but medical assistant Nancy Goetschius said the lab's traffic has not changed significantly. This could be partly due to costs, she said. Arcpoint does not offer a unique measles immunity test, just the combined $ 1

29 MMR blood test.

"Because of the cost of testing, it's almost cheaper to just get vaccinated," she said.

follow this approach; Employees at several local pharmacies offering the MMR vaccine indicated that in recent days more than usual people have come to receive it.

PeaceHealth Southwest spokesman Randy Querin said the health center is offering a measles antibody test. I gave it to their own doctors last week to make sure they were really immune.

"The vaccine is excellent, but it's not perfect," he said. "For about 2 percent (the recipient) this is not required. They do not build up immunity against it. However, Querin said that PeaceHealth encourages patients to talk to their family doctors about an immunity test and visit pharmacy locations like Walgreens to get vaccinated instead of visiting a PeaceHealth site.

People worried about their immune history can also visit myir.net, a website that can help track down vaccine records.

"The answer (via tests) is yes, but not today," he said. "We do not do that now because we do not want people to come to our hospital when they do not have to be here."

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