“If you have a population that is unvaccinated, it’s like throwing a match into a can of gasoline,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County’s public health director. The latest outbreak of measles started in an anti-vaccination hotspot where only 78 percent of the kindergarten through high school population had gotten their shots.
Measles, declared eliminated as a major public health threat in the United States almost 20 years ago, has re-emerged this winter in the Pacific Northwest and other states where parents have relatively broad leeway over whether to vaccinate their children. Seventy-nine cases of measles have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the start of this year. Fifty cases of the highly contagious disease were in Washington State. (Johnson, 2/6)
As the count of people with measles climbs toward 50, Clark County Public Health announced a short reprieve. There were no new confirmed cases of measles Tuesday — the first time in weeks. However, there are 11 people who display symptoms of measles and are awaiting the results of blood work to confirm the diagnosis. One day without a new measles case might seem an indicator of hope the outbreak is over, but it unfortunately doesn’t necessarily indicate the end. (Harbarger, 2/5)
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