Washington under state of emergency as measles cases rise

A hospital security worker who declined to be identified stands at a door at Peace Health Southwest

Measles outbreak prompts state of emergency declaration by Washington governor

These rates of non-vaccination are particularly high in the state of OR, which is worrisome considering its close proximity to the outbreak in nearby Clark County, Washington.

Most of the cases have been in children younger than 10, according to a statement from the Clark County Public Health Department in Washington.

Experts say the outbreak highlights the importance of childhood immunizations.

"Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children", Inslee said in his proclamation on Friday, adding that these cases create "an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties". There is one case so far in Multnomah County, one in King County, Washington, and now a suspected case in Deschutes County. "The best protection against measles is vaccination".

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Measles virus travels through the air. Measles can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and even simply by breathing. It can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, and can be deadly. One or two of every 1,000 children who get measles will die from complications, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On January 25, Governor Jay Inslee declared a local public health emergency in all counties of Washington State, where many people (mostly unvaccinated children) have become infected with measles. As of Monday, that number is up to 36, 35 of which are in kids under 18 years old.

Children under the age of one can not be immunized.

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.

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Those infected are primarily isolated to Clark County, in southwest Washington, which directly borders Oregan's capital of Portland. Below that, people who can't get the shot-like newborns and individuals with deficient immune systems-are at increased risk of contracting the disease.

Doctors say the full vaccine is 97 per cent effective and protects you for life.

Early on, measles can look like many other viral illnesses, but the red blotchy rash that comes with it may help set it apart. To this day, it still kills 100,000 children a year worldwide, most under the age of five. "Some outright lies, that when put all together, reveal a very terrifying picture of vaccination", Marcus said.

Officials still are not sure where this Pacific Northwest outbreak began.

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The number of measles cases almost tripled in 2018 to 349 over 2017, when only 120 cases were reported.

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