Northwest measles cases spur look at vaccine exemptions

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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.

"If you get both doses of the measles vaccine you're looking at about 97 percent protection", Ward said.

In an effort to stop the spread of the illness, the Health Department and partners have provided more than 16,000 vaccinations. In addition, two people fell ill in Hawaii, having travelled from Washington, where they were infected. Although Chelan and Douglas Counties do not now have a confirmed case of measles, public health officials are working closely with school districts and healthcare providers to ensure students and staff are up to-date on their vaccines.

The measles outbreak that has sickened 38 people in Washington state has spread to Hawaii and OR by travelers with the highly-contagious disease.

The National Vaccine Information Center, which opposes mandatory vaccination laws, said it opposed that bill and the current one. "The state senator (Elizabeth Steiner Hayward) who attempted to strengthen our vaccination rates was literally bogged down by avid parents". Parents who don't want to immunize their children can homeschool or enrol their children in independent study at the local public school. And the worst part of the measles outbreak would be that this virus is deadly for the majority of newborns and individuals with a weak immune system.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases in the United States.

Officials said, "false fears" of a link to autism, and the religious exemption has allowed the disease to re-emerge when it was once considered eradicated just 18 years ago. Serious complications include brain swelling that can cause blindness or deafness and pneumonia.

Symptoms of measles can often be similar to cold or flu symptoms, including: fever, diarrhea, coughing, runny nose, red and watery eyes, and fatigue. CDC data show 90 percent of people who are unvaccinated near someone who is infected will contract the disease.

You can catch measles from an infected person as early as four days before he or she has a rash and for up to four days after the rash appears. Someone who has no immunity can get sick up to three weeks after they have been exposed to the virus.

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