Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Measles Cases Soar to Decade High in Europe With 72 Deaths

Measles Cases Soar to Decade High in Europe With 72 Deaths

In a statement, Jay Inslee-Washington's Governor-stated that measles is an extremely contagious transferable disease that can be deadly in small children. Seattle, Washington; Spokane, Washington; and Portland, Oregon-all 3 of which surround Clark County, Washington, the site of the latest measles outbreak in which 50 cases have been confirmed since January 1, 2019.

At least 10 states are reporting cases of measles across the nation.

Regional clinics are trying to keep up with the sudden inquiries, mainly among parents of children who have not been vaccinated.

Legislation in the state of NY permits vaccine exemptions for individuals who have religious beliefs against immunization.

"The most important message is to be immunized", said Dragan Jankovic, a technical officer at the health agency's European vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization program.

Washington and OR are among 17 states that allow non-medical exemptions from vaccination requirements for school entry, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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"The strain D8 in Washington's outbreak matches the strain from an ongoing Eastern European outbreak". Health officials are not providing information about this individual in order to protect their privacy. "The recommended two doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection - 97 percent".

The tri-county area that includes Multnomah County, Oregon - where three people were diagnosed with measles - is also seeing a spike in vaccinations. Most importantly, at least 95% of every population needs to be immune, through two doses of vaccination or prior exposure to the virus, to ensure community protection for everyone - including babies too young to be vaccinated and others who can not be immunized due to existing diseases and medical conditions.

Of those, 72 cases killed the infected.

"State and local health officials now need to work with their state legislatures to close the loopholes that allow non-medical exemptions for reasons of personal belief, as was done previously in California", said the study's lead author, Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, in a previous interview with Contagion.

That doesn't mean the child was "patient zero" of the outbreak, Armstrong noted, because it doesn't meant they started the outbreak, just that they were the first confirmed case by Public Health.

"We anticipated importation of measles from other parts of the world", Schaffner says, "but it has gained a foothold again because there are communities where a substantial proportion of children remain unimmunized".

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