Measles - Get vaccinated now

Measles - Get vaccinated now

A measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest has some people questioning religious exemptions for families who want their children to opt-out of mandatory immunizations.

Washington State Health officials have confirmed there are now 40 confirmed cases of measles since the start of the year and 15 suspected cases of the disease. Only one case occurred in a person who was vaccinated. The current measles outbreak in Clark County and one diagnosed case in King County are examples of why the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine is a crucial requirement. In recent years, however, the viral illness has popped up again from NY to California and sickened hundreds.

Collin and Tarrant counties were singled out in a national survey as anti-vaccination "hotspots" for non-medical vaccine exemptions among school-age children. The vaccine is very effective against measles. Washington state declared a state of emergency last week. Public Health has not identified any new locations where people may have been exposed to measles. When enough people around them are immunized, they can live within a kind of protective tribe of disease-free people, and are thus relatively "immune" to illnesses like measles.

Thirty-one of the confirmed patients had not been vaccinated against measles. "There aren't any other alternatives to vaccination". Of these, approximately 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC; of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles. But measles is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travelers infected overseas can bring the virus back and spread it, causing periodic outbreaks.

Measles cases have been on the rise in the U.S.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, D-Bronx, which would do away with all non-medical exemptions, received a boost this week when it was supported by Sen. The agency said that one dose of the vaccine is about 93 percent effective at prevention, two doses raise the efficacy to 97 percent.

At least 44 people in Washington and OR have fallen ill in recent weeks with the extraordinarily contagious virus, which was eradicated in the 2000 as a result of immunization but arrives periodically with overseas travelers. "I'm just so scared", she said.

You can get measles if you go near someone who has the virus because the virus stays for up to two hours in the air of a room where a person with measles has been.

Local public health officials are monitoring the outbreak up north, and Jackson County Health Officer Dr. Jim Shames said that the public will be alerted if a confirmed case makes it to Jackson County.



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