Medicine

Scope of the Measles Outbreak and Why It's Worsening

Scope of the Measles Outbreak and Why It's Worsening

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

And, as of epidemiologic week 42 of 2018, the Peru Ministry of Health had also reported 2 cases imported from Venezuela.

A measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest became more worrisome on Wednesday with word that people infected with the extremely contagious viral illness travelled to Hawaii and central OR after being exposed.

There were 38 confirmed cases in Washington and OR in 2018.

The measles outbreak in Washington state is spreading, and now there are at least nine states with cases. According to the CDC, approximately one in four people in the United States who gets measles will require hospitalization.

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DPH urges healthcare providers to maintain heightened awareness for patients with measles or symptoms of measles. Two doses of the measles vaccine are 97 percent effective against infection, and in 2000, officials announced the disease had been eliminated from the U.S. Measles infections have been on the rise in recent years because of anti-vaccine sentiment and debunked claims the inoculations have a connection to autism. The vaccination status of four others who were infected is unknown.

One anti-vaxx mom's post went viral after she asked members of the private Facebook group "Vaccine Education Network: Natural Health Anti-Vaxx Community " how to protect her child from measles. The first known patient sought medical care on December 31, but it isn't known if other people may have gotten sick before that and did not seek treatment.

Although the risk of becoming sick is low, DPH has notified individuals who might have been exposed to the virus and are potentially at increased risk for developing measles.

None of the infected people were vaccinated and they are no longer contagious. "And a few days after that, you get that famous rash", explained Alok Patel, MD, a pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

The virus, spread by coughing or sneezing, can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space.


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