Northwest Measles Outbreak Revives Debate Over Vaccine Laws

Pacific Northwest measles outbreak grows to 40

What's going on with the latest measles outbreak?

In the event of a measles outbreak, WAC 246-105-080 authorizes schools (public or private), child care centers, or the local Health Officer to exclude any child or staff who does not have appropriate documentation of immunity against measles. For more information about the measles outbreak, check out this FAQ from Jackson County Public Health, or follow the or and Washington state investigation. Although rubella was declared eliminated from the U.S.in 2004, cases can occur when unvaccinated people are exposed to infected people, mostly through global travel. Of the 41 confirmed cases, 37 are people who were not immunized and four are unverified. The only other case so far has been reported in King County.

We need most people in the population to be vaccinated in order to maintain our "herd immunity".

In stark contrast to some social media rumors, the measles outbreak in Clark County, Washington which has spawned at least one case in Oregon has not spread to Southern Oregon, Jackson County Public Health said in a statement on Friday. The telltale sign of measles is a rash that usually starts on the face and can spread over the entire body. The highest number of infections there in over two decades and more cases are popping up in states across the U.S.

None of the infected people were vaccinated and they are no longer contagious. The factually incorrect report was debunked many times over in the years that followed, but that hasn't stopped some parents from choosing to not vaccinate their children against diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella.

"If you get both doses of the measles vaccine you're looking at about 97 percent protection", Ward said. Many of those parents are part of a growing movement of "anti-vaxxers" who worry about the safety of vaccines.

People are contagious with measles for up to four days before and up to four days after the rash appears.

Jocelyn Smith is terrified her youngest son, who is 11 months, will get measles. The virus lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person, and can survive for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed.

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