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Health officials in Washington have declared a state of emergency and are pushing for a vaccine as measles erupt in two counties, while the number of cases of the potentially deadly virus in a region with lower than normal vaccination continues to rise.
Washington Department of Health officials announced that there were 36 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases of the disease on Monday afternoon. This is a significant increase over the numbers reported on Friday, when Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency. At the time there were 26 confirmed measles cases.
In its statement on Friday, Inslee said, "Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal to young children, and the existence of 26 confirmed cases in Washington State poses an extreme public health risk that quickly spreads to others
Since then, nine new cases have been confirmed, all in Clark County, which borders Portland, Oregon. This also creates concern in this state.
US epidemiologist Scott Lindquist told NPR's Patti Neighmond that this was probably just the beginning of the epidemic as many families with infected children traveled to very public places, including Costco, Ikea, Portland International Airport and the Arena, Where the trail is Blazer play.
Lindquist added that the officials were particularly worried that "people with weakened immune systems – pregnant women, young children and those who are not vaccinated – could be at risk for the disease", without realizing it because of treacherous measles rash could not appear four days into the disease. As a result, people may not know that they are carrying the disease and may unknowingly expose others to the extremely contagious virus.
Measles virus travels the air. It can be contracted without being in the vicinity of a person with the virus, as it remains up to two hours in the air of a room in which a person has been with measles. It can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, and can be fatal. Inslee notes, "Almost anyone who is not immune will get measles when exposed."
Clark County Public Health has identified 35 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases since January 1, when it first began its outbreak. Except for four cases, the person who had the disease had not been immunized. In the remaining cases, the authorities had not yet confirmed their vaccination status.
The majority of those infected were children, with 25 of the 35 confirmed cases affecting children under the age of 10 years.
Children under one year can not be immunized.
So far, King County has reported the only case of an adult, a man in his fifties, who was in the hospital but has now recovered. Although it is not clear where he got infected, the man said he had recently traveled to Clark County.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals who have not been immunized but believe they have been exposed to the air virus should receive the MMR vaccine. It states, "If you receive MMR vaccine within 72 hours of first contact with measles, you may be given protection or have a milder disease."
Before the vaccine was introduced in 1963, measles was the only killer of children worldwide. To date, 100,000 children are killed every year worldwide, most of them under five.
Measles was declared completely eliminated in 2000 because of the country's widely used vaccine program. State laws that allowed parents to revoke compulsory vaccinations quickly eroded those statistics and led to outbreaks across the nation.
The number of cases of measles almost tripled in 2018 and increased to 349 in 2017, when only 120 cases were reported. The CDC claimed the leap, above all, to unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities in the state of New York, New York City, and New Jersey. The agency pointed out that the outbreaks were associated with travelers who brought measles from Israel.
In 2017, low immunization rates for the Minnesota-based Somali-American population resulted in a group of 75 cases.
As NPR reported, "There were 667 cases in the United States in 2014, including a major outbreak among Ohio's communities in the United States in 2015. There were 188 cases in 2015, including some related to an outbreak at Disneyland Amusement Park Pre-vaccination is critical to preventing people from becoming infected with the virus when exposed to the virus. "
Washington and Oregon are among the many states in the country where parents have a personal or philosophical objection Among other things, the refusal of the measles vaccine will be allowed. Seattle, Spokane and Portland are among the 15 cities in the US that are considered "hot spots" due to their large number of non-medical exemptions for vaccines that include measles, mumps and rubella.
Pediatrician Peter Hotez, Dean of the National Tropical Medicine School of Baylor College of Medicine, told the NPR that there is a very aggressive lobby for vaccines across the Pacific Northwest that effectively increases the rate of non-compliance of vaccines and score left behind by children who are vulnerable to the infection.
The groups often spread disinformation by claiming a link between vaccines and autism. An assertion that has been completely refuted by the Centers for Disease Control.
Washington officials now begin the tedious and costly task of tracking down any individuals who may have been infected and warning that they are alert to symptoms, including runny nose, red eyes, fever, and skin rash.