Measles State of Emergency issued for Washington State

Governor Jay Inslee has issued a public health state of emergency based on 31 confirmed cases in the Vancouver area of Clark County, and one confirmed case in Seattle & King County. There have been multiple exposure locations in the Portland, Oregon; Vancouver and Seattle-King County area. The Washington State Department of Health Measles 2019 website is being updated daily with details on the current status of the outbreak, which includes an extensive list of exposure locations based in the Portland, Vancouver and Seattle-King County regions.

San Juan County Health & Community Services alerted medical providers last week of the Washington State measles cases, and is alerting schools. Unimmunized students have been excluded from affected Vancouver and Portland area schools until the outbreak is over, to prevent further spread of measles cases in the school setting.

“Measles is a highly contagious disease, and can be very serious, especially for young children and infants who are too young to be immunized. Measles is spread when an infected person breaths, coughs or sneezes,” said Dr. Frank James, the Health Officer for San Juan County. “Because it is so contagious, almost everyone who does not have immunity will get measles if they are exposed to the measles virus, even just by being in the same room as another person who is infected with measles. Citizens of San Juan County can help stop the entry of measles into our community, and protect our most vulnerable community members by making sure they have received vaccinations against the virus.”

The best protection against measles is the MMR vaccine. Everyone is urged to help stop this disease from spreading by making sure they and their families are up to date on the MMR vaccine, and knowing the signs and symptoms of measles. The first symptoms of measles are like a bad cold—a high fever, runny nose, and cough, followed by a rash that usually lasts 5 to 6 days. You may also have red, watery eyes that are sensitive to light and be very tired. Call your healthcare provider before going to the clinic or hospital if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Additional information and resources on measles, and how to check your or your child’s immunization status, may be found on the Washington State Department of Health website and San Juan County Health & Community Services website.


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