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Health officials declare state of emergency in Washington after 36 confirmed cases of measles

Published on 01/02/19 at 11:06am

Health officials have declared a state of emergency in Washington as an outbreak of measles continues to spread.

As January came to an end, Governor Jay Islee declared a state of emergency in the state of Washington after the outbreak of a total of 26 confirmed cases of measles

As of Monday, the outbreak had seen a total 36 confirmed cases of measles and a further 11 suspected cases of the infectious disease.

Islee commented in a statement: “The measles virus is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children, and the existence of 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.”

Since the release of the statement a further 10 cases have been confirmed, nine of which are in Clark County which borders Portland, Oregon.

Speaking to NPR, Washington State epidemiologist Scott Lindquist suggested that the recent outbreak is only the start, as he noted that: “folks that are immuno-compromised — pregnant women, young kids and those that are unvaccinated — could be at risk for this disease”.

Both Washington and Oregon are states that allow parents to opt out from vaccination for personal or philosophical reasons.

Seattle and Spokane in Washington and Portland in Oregon are among 15 cities that have been listed as hotspots for their high rates of ‘non-medical exemptions’ for the MMR vaccine.

Phoenix, Arizona ranked most highly for the number of non-medical exemptions.

Louis Goss

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