Scope of the Measles Outbreak and Why It's Worsening


Although Chelan and Douglas Counties do not now have a confirmed case of measles, the District is trying to be preemptive.

But in recent years, there's been a resurgence of the disease both in the U.S. and overseas, and experts believe its return is fueled by anti-vaccination laws, groups and lobbies, experts say.

A measles outbreak near Portland, Oregon, has revived a bitter debate over so-called "philosophical" exemptions to childhood vaccinations as public health officials across the Pacific Northwest scramble to limit the fallout. Health officials say 41 of the cases are in Clark County, with the remaining case coming from King County. Outside of the family noted above, there are no reports of secondary cases of measles. The first patient sought medical care on December 31, but other sick people may not have gone to a doctor or hospital, he said. Anyone who is not vaccinated against rubella is at risk of getting the disease.

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"What a lot of people don't realize is that it's one of the most contagious viruses we've ever known".

'So it's like taking a lighted match and throwing it into a bucket of gasoline, basically, ' he said. And the potentially deadly disease is making a comeback mostly in unvaccinated children: Of the total reported cases, 32 were in unvaccinated people, 25 of whom were children under the age of 10. The agency said that one dose of the vaccine is about 93 percent effective at prevention, two doses raise the efficacy to 97 percent. These people were not vaccinated, and the Georgia Department of Public Health recently announced that they are now out of the infectious state of the disease.

Stay home if you have the measles.

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"We're just really one airplane flight from bringing a case here and once a case comes into a population that's not fully vaccinated we see outbreaks", Dr. Sheffield said. Children usually do not have side effects from the shot. There has been no connection made between the outbreak in Washington and the three cases in Georgia.

Despite measles being declared eradicated in the United States in 2000, there have been periodic outbreaks. Melnick said one need look no further than his county's official Facebook page to glimpse the rampant (and at times sophisticated) anti-vaccine propaganda that's spreading around the area.

Health officials say the outbreak is a textbook example of why it's critical to vaccinate against measles, which was eradicated in the USA after the vaccine was introduced in 1963.

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Those who may have been exposed should watch for early symptoms of high fever, malaise and red eyes, followed by a rash that starts on the head and moves down the body.