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Most measles cases in SW Washington are in unvaccinated children

VANCOUVER, Wash. In the wake of a continuing measles outbreak in Clark County Washington health authorities are calling on residents of the state to perform online check to make sure their entire family is safe is over all required dosages of measles vaccine to date.

"Vaccination is the best way to prevent this serious and sometimes fatal disease," said Danielle Koeing, head of immunization health promotion at the Department of Health in Washington.

Public health officials in Clark County said that since January 1, 23 confirmed cases of the disease have been detected.

Medical experts say measles is a serious and highly contagious disease. They say it is possible for someone to get someone else's illness ̵

1; even two hours after that person has left a room.

" It gets worse before it gets better, we've already taken a child to the hospital," dr. Alan Melnick, director of health care for Clark County. " I think it has a great opportunity to influence other parts of the state – and not just the state of Washington, but also Oregon."

So far, almost all local cases are unimmunized children. Eighteen of the 23 cases concerned persons under the age of 10 years. Four of the cases involved people between the ages of 11 and 18, according to the Clark County Public Health Department.

ASSOCIATED: Eruption of measles in Clark County: Confirmed cases are being expanded to 23, 4 new exposure locations identified

Melnick said his team has not yet been able to trace the origin of the Determining outbreaks work backwards to find out where people were and where their paths crossed.

"What keeps me awake at night is that we might end up seeing a serious complication or even death, and that's completely and absolutely preventable," he said.

The Breaking News Only a few months after a KING-5 analysis found that students who visited hundreds of schools in the state of Washington were at increased risk some avoidable diseases, because the completion rates of immunization are not high enough to protect them in the US event of an outbreak.

Every year, the majority of Washington's kindergarten children receive the necessary vaccines, but public health officials are concerned when they find that a large number of unimmunized students are crammed into the school building.

In the case of children over the age of Washington, vaccinations are required, but the law allows parents to excuse their children for some or all vaccines on personal, religious or medical grounds.

Washington nursery school students had exemptions during the 2017-2018 school year as reported by the US Department of Health.

READ MORE: The Complete KING-5 Analysis of School Immunization Data

Science recognizes that this can be the choice parents make to vaccinate or not to vaccinate their children affect the whole community, all in terms of a protective effect called "herd immunity".

It is the percentage of people who need to be vaccinated for a disease to protect people who are not vaccinated by the sick. Every disease has its own herd threshold. To prevent the spread of measles, for example, 83 to 94 percent of the population must be vaccinated, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

"Immunization rates are just something we can not divert ourselves from" It's an ongoing effort to promote the benefits of a complete vaccine, "said Kay Knox, director of Within Reach, a Washington-based charitable organization. "It is a global risk if we have no immunity in the community."

Since almost all students need to be vaccinated to effectively prevent the spread of most diseases, it has become The state has set a goal for all Washington schools to have 95 percent of their children. Nursery school students are all vaccinated, but most schools across the nation have failed to meet that goal every year, according to a KING 5 review of the annual vaccine data available between 1988 and 2017 were reported to the Washington Department of Health.

Interactive: percent of kindergarten students in Washington With Completed Immunizations

The KING 5 analysis of data reported from the school also found that:

  • Only 258 schools in the 1,425 Washington schools reporting vaccine data reached or surpassed the 95 percent target in the last school year.
  • Nearly half of Washington schools reporting child-care vaccinations in the last school year had too low graduation rates to effectively prevent the spread of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in the event of an outbreak. Hundreds of schools have also fallen below the herd immunity for other diseases such as measles and rubella.
  • Most parents who excuse their children from some or all vaccinations receive an exemption certificate for "personal" reasons.

Interactive: Which school districts are missing?

Click on the arrows in the graph below to find out which schools do not reach the immunity level of the herd for certain diseases whooping cough cough and measles.

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