BC officials preach caution following measles outbreak in Washington State

BC officials preach caution following measles outbreak in Washington State

This is the first confirmed case of measles in Oregon.

The Oregon Healthy Authority says the agency is working to let people know of the potential exposure within the county.

Most cases involve children aged 1 to 10.

Armstrong said Clark County Public Health will provide daily updates pertaining to the ongoing measles investigation.

Clark County - which is in the southwest part of Washington and close to Portland - has a lower vaccination rate than almost any other county in the state.

The measles vaccine is available at local clinics and pharmacies as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that causes fevers, coughs, and running nose, followed by a characteristic red rash that starts on the face and then spreads across the body.

"Routinely we don't vaccinate children prior to the age of one, so infants are likely to be susceptible, especially after about four to six months of age", she says. Two doses are about 97 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health department officials have connected 27 of the Clark County measles cases to non-immunized people while four cases remain unverified.

One case also has been confirmed in King County, which is home to Seattle and one was confirmed Friday evening in Multnomah County, which is home to Portland.

Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that the outbreak in Clark County "creates an extreme public health risk" that could spread throughout the state.

People who choose not to vaccinate their children are underestimating the dangers of the illness, said Melnick, who himself had measles as a child, before the vaccine was commonplace. To date, a single case of measles was reported in BC in 2019 in an adult traveller returning from the Philippines. Exposed non-immune individuals are offered preventive measures including vaccine. Due to its nasty resurgence in Europe and the U.S., there has been a 30 percent global increase in measles outbreaks.

In BC, measles vaccine uptake is assessed in children at the 2 and 7 birthdays. However the BCCDC says a 95 per cent vaccination rate is recommended to interrupt transmission. There are pockets of unvaccinated people in several parts of BC. Herd immunity happens when unvaccinated individuals are protected from infection because nearly everyone around them has been vaccinated and is immune to a disease.