What's going on with the latest measles outbreak?

Signs posted at The Vancouver Clinic in Vancouver Wash. warn patients and visitors of a measles outbreak on Wednesday Jan. 30 2019. The outbreak has sickened 39 people in the Pacific Northwest with 13 more cases suspected. At least one patient who

Signs posted at The Vancouver Clinic in Vancouver Wash. warn patients and visitors of a measles outbreak on Wednesday Jan. 30 2019. The outbreak has sickened 39 people in the Pacific Northwest with 13 more cases suspected. At least one patient who

The confirmed cases are mostly centered in southwest Washington state, but include two people who travelled to Hawaii and another who went to Bend, Oregon. Health officials say 41 of the cases are in Clark County, with the remaining case coming from King County.

Of the confirmed cases, most patients were under 10 and at least 34 patients were not immunized.

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency because of the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is outlining the scope of the outbreak, and detailing what can be done to stop it in its tracks. One dose of the measles vaccine gives 93 percent lifelong immunity; a second dose between ages 4 and 6 provides 97 percent immunity. There have also been three reported cases in Atlanta. In recent years, however, the viral illness has popped up again from NY to California and sickened hundreds.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the U.S.

"Measles is airborne and highly contagious, so if you aren't vaccinated and you're exposed to somebody who has measles, you'll most likely get them", Howell said.

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Measles is extremely contagious, and can be unsafe, especially for young children. But it is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travelers infected overseas can bring the virus back and spread it, causing periodic outbreaks.

The best protection against measles is the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella viruses.

The overall vaccination rate for children entering kindergarten in California rose to 95 percent in the two years after the law passed.

But the vaccine is less effective in those under a year old and is generally not given to infants. "I'm just so scared", she said.

Health officials are urging anyone who has been exposed at an identified location and believes they have symptoms of measles to call their health care provider prior to visiting the medical office to make a plan that avoids exposing others in the waiting room. Because measles is contagious even before people realize they are sick, people who are not vaccinated may unknowingly spread the virus.

Measles often begins with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.

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