Medicine

Measles Outbreak: What You Need To Know About Disease

Measles Outbreak: What You Need To Know About Disease

Washington's state Govoner declared a state of emergency following a measles outbreak unfolding in Clark County on January 25. In 2018, six cases of measles were reported among BC residents: two cases acquired infection during travel out of Canada (India and Philippines, respectively), and four acquired infection from imported cases. Public health officials are focused for now on preventing more exposures. When one gets infected, the symptoms take about seven to 14 days before they emerge.

Anti-vaccination propaganda has already led to province-wide measles outbreaks in 2014 and 2010, and the BCCDC is understandably concerned about another as the disease spreads through the neighbouring states.

William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, estimates that the measles immunization is about 98 percent effective in protecting people from the illness. In 1998, Andrew Wakefield released a paper claiming to have linked the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the onset of autism. Health officials say nine more cases are suspected. While it is expected that most travellers will be immune to measles, some individuals will be susceptible, including infants less than one year old or people who have never been immunized against measles.

She adds that while there is now no travel advisory for Washington State, anyone heading to the area should review their immunization status to make sure they're protected.

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One case has been confirmed in King County, where Seattle is located.

Locations and venues include Portland International Airport, at the Moda Center during a Portland Trail Blazers basketball game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea.

Southwest District Health says health care providers should consider measles if they see patients with symptoms like fever and malaise followed by a rash that starts at the head and moves down the body. "That way they can get medical evaluation and they won't necessarily expose a lot of other people". Doctors say it's a red alert for anyone in King County who has not been vaccinated against measles. It's not like a cold for three days.