Recent outbreak brings rash of tips to combat spread of measles

Recent outbreak brings rash of tips to combat spread of measles

With worries about measles heightened because of an outbreak in Clark County, health care professionals say the best defense is to be immunized.

The Washington State Department of Health, for example, has instituted an infectious disease Incident Management Structure to manage the public health aspects of the incident through investigations of possible cases, laboratory testing and other efforts to protect communities around the state. Officials are still awaiting blood test results on another 15 cases.

Two of the confirmed patients from southwest Washington traveled to Hawaii and were quarantined there and a third person was contagious while on a trip to Bend, Oregon.

Health officials say the outbreak is a textbook example of why it's critical to vaccinate against measles, which was eradicated in the USA after the vaccine was introduced in 1963.

WAC 246-105-080 authorizes schools, child care centers, or the local Health Officer to exclude any child or staff who does not have appropriate documentation of immunity against measles.

Of course, the outbreak has many parents concerned for the health of their kids.

Melnick shared some grim statistics: Before the measles vaccination, 400-500 people died from the highly contagious disease every year, 50,000 were hospitalized, and about 4,000 people developed brain swelling that could cause deafness. There have also been three reported cases in Atlanta. One vaccine provides 93 percent immunity from measles, and two shots provide 97 percent protection.

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The CDC has warned that travellers should ensure they are vaccinated against measles with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR). For more information about the measles outbreak, check out this FAQ from Jackson County Public Health, or follow the or and Washington state investigation. "I'm just so scared", she said.

California state Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician who sponsored his state's bill, said he got death threats over it and had anti-vaccination advocates jam his phone lines and harass him on social media.

Officials haven't yet determined how the measles outbreak started.

Before mass vaccination, 400 to 500 people in the United States died of the measles every year, 50,000 people were hospitalized and 4,000 people developed brain swelling that can cause deafness, Melnick said.

Nine out of 10 unvaccinated people who are exposed will get the disease.

The CDC advises those who believe they are infected should stay home for four days after developing the rash to minimize the likelihood of spreading the disease.

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