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Measles outbreak fuels debate over refusing vaccinations

30 Janvier 2019

"We actually don't have any confirmed cases here in Lane County", said Jason Davis, Lane County Health and Human Services Public Information Officer.

So why the emergency declaration?

"It's one of the most highly contagious diseases known to humans, so on average if a single individual gets measles, 12 to 18 other individuals will get it as well". Health officials say it usually starts with a fever, runny nose, cough and red eyes.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is warning that travellers to certain parts of the USA could be at risk of catching measles. Some of the cases of measles have also visited the Portland International Airport and other busy areas including schools, hospitals, churches etc.

Last Friday (25th January 2019), the Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement that there is an outbreak of measles and the Washington State Military Department and State Emergency Operations Center would be collaborating with the Department of Health to fight the outbreak. So far, just one adult in the area has caught the disease. The CDC attributed the jump to primarily unvaccinated people in the Orthodox Jewish communities in New York state, New York City and New Jersey.

In light of the outbreak in Washington, the BCDC is advising British Columbians to review and update their immunization status at any time, and especially prior to any travel.

Measles is very easily spread from person to person. And we wouldn't be dealing with this if we had vaccination rates up.

A woman with measles, c. 1908.

"It's important that anyone who was at these locations and is experiencing possible symptoms of measles receives guidance on medical evaluation and treatment immediately", said Bob McDonald, executive director of Denver Public Health & Environment and the public health administrator for the City of Denver.

"Even in previously healthy children, measles can cause serious illness, such as pneumonia, requiring hospitalization", said Dr. Ruppert.

He said: "I think the best thing we can do to prevent this is to have the vaccination rates higher".

"This never would have happened if all of those children were immunized, or even if majority were immunized". Measles vaccine does not cause measles illness.

MARCIA SPARLING: If you haven't been immunized, we'd like you to wear a mask.

"For decades, vaccines were given and compliance was very high, and there are a lot of people, especially in the USA, who have no experience with these vaccine-preventable illnesses", Deese said. With families who choose not to vaccinate often clustering together, herd immunity does not offer adequate protection. Of the 35 cases, 25 are children between age 1 and 10.

Public health officials are struggling to contain a measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest. To this day, it still kills 100,000 people, mostly children a year worldwide, most under the age of 5.

Washington state has one of the lowest vaccination rates when it comes to measles. Park said the home was on a large and relatively isolated part of the Big Island.

NY state is facing its worst outbreak in decades, with more than 200 cases.

If children get their measles vaccine, they are 95 percent protected.

Swanson worries that sometimes the media coverage about measles outbreaks makes it seem there is a nationwide crisis over vaccination, but that's not true. And the region has been identified by health experts as an anti-vaccination hot spot.

Measles outbreak fuels debate over refusing vaccinations