Vaccination exemptions backfire in Oregon measles outbreak

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel notice for Kazakhstan, where health officials have reported a measles outbreak. There are four cases with unverified vaccination records, and 37 people who are unimmunized.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the U.S.

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

Back in that 2004 school year, the vaccination rate was "getting close" to a threshold for herd immunity (around 95%), Clark County public health director Alan Melnick told Business Insider.

Meanwhile, three cases have been confirmed in Georgia among an unvaccinated family.

So far, none of the patients whose immunization status has been confirmed got their measles vaccination. "We know that what we are doing is not working because we're seeing the measles outbreak".

The state of Washington declared a state of emergency less than a week ago related to the measles outbreak, and health officials are scrambling to contain the contagious disease before it spreads to new areas.

None of the infected people were vaccinated and they are no longer contagious. But measles is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travelers infected overseas can bring the virus back and spread it, causing periodic outbreaks. "The recommended two doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection - 97 percent".

The vaccine has been part of routine childhood shots for decades.

Those who may have been exposed should watch for early symptoms of high fever, malaise and red eyes, followed by a rash that starts on the head and moves down the body.

Nearly everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed to the measles virus. The virus lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person, and can survive for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. "And a few days after that, you get that famous rash", explained Alok Patel, MD, a pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

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