Across the state, 40 people were diagnosed with measles in January, and there have been at 186 cases since October, with the largest number of cases in Rockland, state health officials said. He said the district's head nurse, Michelle Hyatt, is coordinating with the county to ensure schools are taking the appropriate steps. "The other is really taking another look at our immunization status and records".
The AP noted that Clark County, Washington, has a vaccination rate of 78 percent, which is too low to protect those with compromised immune systems, those who can not get vaccinated because of medical problems, or those who are too young.
"As we get into generations of the outbreak, this can persist for weeks, if not months", said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health director. Clark County officials say they're also looking into another 12 suspected cases of the disease.
Of the confirmed cases, most patients were under 10 and at least 34 patients were not immunized. These would typically result in 400 to 500 deaths and about 1,000 cases of encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
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'If you have a large unvaccinated population and you add measles to the mix, one measles case will infect 90 percent of contacts, and the early symptoms are not distinguishable from other respiratory illnesses - and you're contagious at that point, ' Dr Melnick said. "The best way to get prepared is to make sure you and your children that you're responsible for are up to date on your vaccinations".
Measles is extremely contagious, and can be risky, especially for young children. Before mass vaccination, 400 to 500 people in the US died of the measles every year.
"The measles vaccine isn't ideal, but one dose is 93 per cent effective at preventing illness", Melnick said.
State lawmakers have introduced a bill that would remove the personal or philosophical objection to the measles vaccination for parents not vaccinating their children as otherwise required to attend public schools. It is an airborne disease which spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of infected people. People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.