Published: Fri, February 01, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Measles A Health Emergency in 1 Washington County

Measles A Health Emergency in 1 Washington County

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) says, so far, there have been no infections in B.C. due to the Washington State outbreak.

Public health officials in southwest Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, said people may have been exposed to the unsafe disease at more than three dozen locations, including Portland International Airport, a Portland Trail Blazers game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea.

Before the measles vaccination program began in the 1963, about 3 to 4 million people in the US got measles every year.

The number of confirmed measles cases near Portland grew to 31 on Friday - an outbreak boosted by lower-than-normal vaccination rates in what has been called an anti-vaccination U.S. As of Friday, Clark County Public Health had posted even higher numbers, with 30 confirmed and nine suspected cases. Clark County has information about areas where measles exposures have happened on their website. Nearly everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed to the measles virus.

Immunization is the best prevention for measles. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.

The measles vaccine has been part of routine childhood shots for decades, and measles was declared eliminated in the 2000. "If there's anybody out there that has not taken the vaccine and can get it, then they should".

Public Health officials have released a list of times and places in King County where non-immunized people could have been exposed to measles, such as a Boeing construction site in Auburn, high-school basketball games in Kent and multiple medical facilities in Covington. For the most recent years of data available, 87.3 per cent of children turning two had received one dose of measles vaccine, and 88.4 per cent of children turning seven had received two doses, based on data in the provincial immunization registry reported by BC health authorities.

The county's public health department says people may have been exposed at the Kaiser Cascade Park Medical Office on Jan. 19, a Costco on Jan. 16, a Dollar Tree on Jan. 15, and the Portland International Airport on Jan. 15.

People who think they may have the measles are asked to contact their health care provider before visiting to avoid exposing others. "I can tell you, anybody who says that has never had measles".

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