Measles Prompts Health Emergency in Washington County

Measles Prompts Health Emergency in Washington County

In Clark County, there have been 23 confirmed cases of the highly contagious viral infection identified since January 1, with 18 cases among children younger than 11 and just one involving a person over 18.

"This is something I've predicted for a while now", he said of the public health emergency in Clark County. Five cases involve those from 11 to 18, and one infected person is between 19 and 29 years old. It includes health care facilities, churches, schools, Concourse D and the Delta Sky Lounge of Portland International Airport, an Ikea, Dollar Tree stores, the Moda Center during a Trail Blazers' game, and Amazon Lockers.

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2014 and 2018 were both banner years for measles in the USA: with 667 confirmed cases, and 349 cases, respectively.

Clark County will start making robo-calls Tuesday to people who can be identified and tracked down, to warn them of the risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles may present with high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, white spots inside the mouth, and rash. Past year saw 17 outbreaks that led to 349 infections.

"We usually have five cases or less a year", he said.


NY has seen more than 160 cases since September, for example, and is experiencing what Dr. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner, called "the largest measles outbreak that NY state has had in recent history", CNN reported. "Portland is a total train wreck when it comes to vaccine rates", he said.

16 of them had no immunization against the disease, and it has not yet been known if the rest 3 had. After smallpox was eradicated in 1980, measles became the leading killer of children globally, he said.

Both counties have pockets where large numbers of children are not vaccinated. The reasons for the rise in new measles cases are related to increased travels to areas where measles is more common, as well as the vulnerability of communities in the US where people choose not to vaccinate their families against the disease.

According to the CDC, 2018 was the second-worst year for measles cases since 2000.

Outbreaks in the United States have more become common where un-vaccinated people cluster, and parents sometimes forgo shots for religious or personal reasons, which has led to outbreaks in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, a Somali-American community in Minnesota, and in Amish country in Ohio.

Because the virus is so contagious, he added, a high level of protection is required to prevent spread - somewhere between 92 and 94 percent of the population immunized. Clark county falls at the lower end, although some counties have vaccination rates of below 70 percent.

The county's health department emphasized how easily the virus can spread, remaining for as long as two hours in the air of a room where an infected person has been. This would reduce the chances of healthy people getting infected by the disease. Complications can result in permanent hearing loss, pneumonia and encephalitis.

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