Denton County Public Health officials said Wednesday there's one confirmed case of measles in the county. The Pacific Northwest outbreak includes one confirmed case in King County, where Seattle is located, and four in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Ore. If you think you might be infected, the safest thing to do is stay in your room because of the highly contagious nature of the disease.
Washington state Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) has introduced a measurethat would remove personal belief exemptions for the MMR vaccine. Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2017 ChildVaxView Report, which details MMR vaccination coverage among children 19-35 months by state and region using data from the National Immunization Survey-Child from 2017, reports that Washington state has the sixth lowest coverage rate in the nation at 88.5%.
According to Clark County's outbreak investigation statement, all of the confirmed cases are a match of a wild strain of virus that has been circulating through Eastern Europe and is preventable through vaccination.
But when children who are unvaccinated shop in the same stores and go to the same events as everyone else, that's when they can get exposed. There are now 3 suspected cases in individuals who received the vaccine more than 72 hours after exposure. The disease, which has spread rapidly between individuals who never received their childhood vaccines to prevent it, prompted officials to declare a state of emergency out of fear that it would continue to spread.
In the United Kingdom, there were 953 measles cases a year ago.
Advocates on both sides of the childhood vaccines debate are expected to attend.
In the third week of January, 644 children aged 1-18 were vaccinated against measles in the county. According to the World Health Organization, before the introduction of measles vaccination in 1963, the virus caused 2.6 million deaths every year.
Anyone with questions about their measles immunity or the measles vaccine should contact their primary care provider.
"These outbreaks are associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring", the CDC says.
"The measles vaccine isn't flawless, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness", Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County's health officer, said in a statement.
"There's no reason we should be having this outbreak", says Melnick.