No Measles Cases Reported So Far to Chelan-Douglas Health District

Science										
		
																	Surprise! A bunch of kids who weren’t vaccinated now have the measles					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner

"I would hope that this ends soon, but this could go on for weeks, if not months", said Dr. Alan Melnick, public health director in Clark County, Washington, just north of Portland.

"The revelation prompted public health officials in Oregon's Deschutes County and in Hawaii to issue alerts, although no cases were confirmed in either location", the AP reported.

There has been one confirmed measles case in Multnomah County, Ore., and another in King County.

Herd immunity is a level of vaccination at which people who can't safely get vaccines (because they have HIV, cancer, or other conditions which make their immune systems more fragile) are protected.

There have not been many recent cases on the east coast, but a LewisGale pediatrician says the risk exists for communities who don't immunize.

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Thirteen additional suspected cases were reported Wednesday, and some of those will likely be confirmed, Dr Melnick said. In Georgia, the Department of Health has confirmed that three members of the same family had contracted the disease.

"If you get both doses of the measles vaccine you're looking at about 97 percent protection", Ward said.

"Now is a great time for all families to take action by reviewing their vaccination records and be sure that everyone is up to date and has completed the vaccination series for measles", health officials said.

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency because of the outbreak.

According to WAC 246-105-030, measles is one of many diseases for which a child is required to be vaccinated against or show proof of immunity, before attending any school (public or private) or child care center.

Officials say the vast majority of people who have been infected are likely children of parents who decided not to have them vaccinated.

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Early symptoms include a fever, runny nose and malaise, followed by a rash that starts around the head and moves down the body. Only one case occurred in a person who was vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you are not sure about your immunization status, and you can not locate your vaccination records, it is safe to get the MMR vaccine.

Before mass vaccination, 400 to 500 people in the United States died of the measles every year, 50,000 people were hospitalized and 4,000 people developed brain swelling that can cause deafness, Melnick said.

Measles is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travelers infected overseas can bring back the virus, causing periodic outbreaks.

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