OR measles cases rises to 4 as Vancouver-area reaches 50

A measles outbreak near Portland Ore. has revived a bitter debate over so-called “philosophical” exemptions to childhood vaccinations. MMR protects against measles mumps and rubella

The announcements come as a measles outbreak hits the Pacific Northwest, where more than 50 cases have been confirmed.

Statewide in Washington, orders for measles vaccine jumped about 30 percent, climbing from 12,140 doses to 15,780 doses, figures showed. The outbreak in Clark County has been concentrated mostly among unvaccinated children.

So far in the US this year, about 80 cases of measles have been reported, with two outbreaks ongoing in Washington and NY states.

Europe had a record number of measles cases previous year, in part due to a growing number of pockets where parents are refusing to vaccinate their children, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. Five of the cases involve children, at least some of whom had received one round of the vaccination.

Officials declined to say how old the person is or give any other identifying information, but they are contacting people who may have been exposed. That includes attending church by video feed and working with employers. Concern over the vaccine can be traced back to a 1998 paper by former doctor Andrew Wakefield, who falsely linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism.

The virus travels through the air and can stay up to two hours in the air of a room where a person with measles has been.

Infectious people were at Costco, the airport, a Blazers game and other sites.

The overwhelming majority of Washington's new cases have not been immunized, re-sparking debate over the anti-vaccination movement.

Clark County Public Health Department Public Information Officer Marissa Armstrong said that the first case in the Clark County outbreak was a child who had traveled to Clark County from outside the country - information that was announced in the initial outbreak news release January 4.

But it's a snapshot of the scare an outbreak can cause, said Dr. Alan Melnick, the Clark County health officer overseeing the response. Three times as many people have gotten vaccinated in January - from 200 per day in 2018 to 600 per day in 2019.

Multnomah County officials have reported a steep uptick in vaccinations over this time a year ago. "It has also raised an awareness that measles could easily make a comeback, and the only way to prevent that is to get as many people vaccinated as possible". If anyone suspects that they or their child has symptoms of measles, they are urged to call their GP first before visiting.

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