The pool of unvaccinated children is fueling measles outbreak

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The number of cases has continued to rise, with 34 confirmed and nine suspected cases of the disease.

So why the emergency declaration? Patients remain contagious for four days after they develop the rash.

If children get their measles vaccine, they are 95 percent protected.

Two states experiencing a measles outbreak, Washington and OR, allow parents to opt out of vaccines simply because they want to. Public health officials are focused for now on preventing more exposures. To this day, it still kills 100,000 children a year worldwide, most under the age of five.

Also covered: What the county is doing to keep watch for measles, and what you should be looking for if you're the parent of a child at risk.

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Thirty-one of those 35 people were unvaccinated.

If you are unsure of your family's immunization status, you can view, download and print your family's immunization information online at MyIR.net or request a copy of your immunization record from the Washington State Department of Health. It's spread through those common winter companions, sneezing and coughing. Texas is one of the worth offenders, but Washington state also has two metropolitan areas-Seattle and Spokane-that the study identified as hotspots of low vaccination coverage. Rep. Paul Harris, who represents Clark County, says his bill in the House is aiming to get personal exemptions off the table only when it comes to the measles. "The single best way to protect yourself and your children from measles is to be vaccinated", said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino.

Protection against measles can be substantially increased through vaccination. The outbreak is being closely monitored and one person has been taken to the hospital.

"We know that 31 of the cases so far are in un-immunized people, and these are people who are in the age-range that immunization is recommended".

Dr Peter Hotez, of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, added: "People are often very dismissive of measles, but we forget the fact that it's actually, up until fairly recently in human history, it's been one of the great killers of children worldwide".

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"At times, it was really frightening to see how angry and hostile people were to this idea", Maldonado said.

Canadians travelling to affected communities are at risk of exposure to measles, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control said.

The counties' public health officials urge those who believe they or their child have contracted the disease to contact their medical office and plan a visit.

But children who are immunocompromised - like those who are on steroids or who are undergoing chemotherapy, for example - are also unable to be vaccinated. "They're not going to be protected".

A measles outbreak in Washington State has triggered a state of emergency. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

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