Health professionals urging vaccinations in light of measles outbreak

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced today that it has confirmed a case of measles in a New Haven County adult, the first confirmed case this year in the state.

The number of measles cases almost tripled in 2018 to 349 over 2017, when only 120 cases were reported.

Health officials in Washington have declared a state of emergency and are urging immunization as they scramble to contain a measles outbreak in two counties, while the number of cases of the potentially deadly virus continues to climb in a region with lower than normal vaccination rates.

Public health officials in southwest Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland, said people may have been exposed to measles at more than three dozen locations, including Portland International Airport, a Portland Trail Blazers game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea, the AP reported.

Officials in OR and Idaho have issued warnings.

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The vaccination status of four others who were infected is unknown.

A measles vaccine at Miami Children's Hospital on January 28, 2015.

Papich said there has been one suspected case so far in Spokane County, but it was determined to not be measles.

Misinformation is circulating on social media, said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County public health director.

The first known patients in this outbreak sought medical care on December 31, but officials don't know if other people may have gotten sick before that and did not seek treatment, the AP reported.

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Washington state has one of the lowest vaccination rates when it comes to measles.

Measles was eradicated in the USA after a safe and cheap vaccine was developed in 1963, but in recent years, outbreaks from NY to California have sickened hundreds.

The counties' public health officials urge those who believe they or their child have contracted the disease to contact their medical office and plan a visit. Because some people like to claim personal exemptions to getting the vaccine. The CDC says one of the reasons for the increase in cases is the spread of the disease in communities with pockets of unvaccinated people. In the 2004-2005 school year, 96 percent of Clark County kindergartners had been vaccinated against the measles, KATU 2 reports. "Many state courts have weighed in and the right to practice a religion, the right to choose, does not include the liberty to expose a community or a child to a disease", Harris said.

Measles is caused by a virus that presents as fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by full body rash of tiny red spots, according to the CDC. One vaccine provides 93 per cent immunity from measles, and two shots provide 97 per cent protection.

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