As of Saturday, there are 32 confirmed cases of measles in Washington - an outbreak that has already prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency. No cases related to the Clark County outbreak have been reported in the province, but B.C.'s vaccination rate now sits below the 95 per cent necessary to achieve herd immunity.
Health department officials have connected 27 of the Clark County measles cases to non-immunized people while four cases remain unverified. Vancouver, Washington has 30 confirmed cases. A person can spread the virus before they show symptoms.
As a precaution, the BCCDC is advising residents, and border crossers especially, to review and, if necessary, update their vaccines, the best protection against measles.
"The Washington State Department of Health has instituted an infectious disease Incident Management Structure to manage the public health aspects of the incident to include investigations, laboratory testing and other efforts to protect communities", Inslee said. For now, public health officials are focused on preventing additional exposure. Doctors say it's a red alert for anyone in King County who has not been vaccinated against measles.
"It's one of the most contagious viruses we have".
The measles vaccination rate for 2-year-olds in Multnomah County, home to Portland, was 87 percent in 2017, according to state data.
Both Washington and OR allow vaccine exemptions for personal and philosophical reasons.
The measles vaccine is available at local clinics and pharmacies as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
The Health District sent out a list of locations the patient had visited between January 12 and January 19, and where the patient may have possibly exposed others to the virus. Contagious people also went to Portland International Airport, as well as to hospitals, schools, stores, churches and restaurants across Washington's Clark County and the two-state region, county officials said. Serious complications such pneumonia and brain infections can arise from the disease in some cases.
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