As Measles Cases Grow, Lawmakers Look To Change Vaccination Law

Grant Boone
February 2, 2019

According to a new report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on January 30, 2019, Venezuela had contributed 68 percent (5,525/8,091 cases) of the measles cases reported in the Americas and most of the measles-related deaths (73/85), as of October 23, 2018.

Health officials traced the outbreak in Washington to an unvaccinated worldwide traveler and they said they're seeing about five new cases each day.

The return of measles in Venezuela has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a substantial health risk to neighboring countries. A person can get measles just by being in a room where an infected person has been. And the potentially deadly disease is making a comeback mostly in unvaccinated children: Of the total reported cases, 32 were in unvaccinated people, 25 of whom were children under the age of 10. They have since returned home.

There are 40 confirmed cases in the Northwest, including 38 clustered in southwest Washington, one in Portland and one in Seattle.

There were 38 confirmed cases in Washington and OR in 2018.

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Three cases of measles have been confirmed among one Atlanta, Georgia family, health officials reported.

Measles is highly contagious, so we lose herd immunity when about 5 percent of the population is unvaccinated.

None of the infected people were vaccinated and they are no longer contagious.

The vaccine has been part of routine childhood shots for decades.

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. Melnick said one need look no further than his county's official Facebook page to glimpse the rampant (and at times sophisticated) anti-vaccine propaganda that's spreading around the area. Public health officials urge all individuals to re-visit their immunization records by logging into MyIR or by contacting their healthcare provider. Symptoms can start like any other really bad cold: "a cough, runny nose, not feeling very well, red eyes", he says.

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