Washington Governor Declares State of Emergency Due To Measles Outbreak

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A measles outbreak is currently spreading throughout parts of the Pacific Northwest, which is forcing Washington Governor Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency in all counties.

“Measles is a highly contagious disease that can be fatal in small children,” Inslee said in a statement on Friday. “Almost everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed to the virus.” The declaration will funnel the state’s resources into tackling the problem head-on and doing “everything reasonably possible to assist affected political subdivisions,” says Inslee.

The Washington State Department of Health as of Saturday indicate d that the number of confirmed cases has since risen to 32 across two counties since January 1.

The majority of cases reported are that of children 10 years old and younger.  27 of those infected in the county had not gotten a measles vaccine, say reports. 

One person has since been hospitalized in the outbreak.

Measles symptoms typically surface a week to two weeks after an individual becomes infected with measles, which is why people are unlikely to know they’re infected right away and thus may spread it themselves. 

Initial symptoms of Measles include:

  •  fever
  •  cough
  • watery eyes a runny nose
  • a blotchy red rash will typically spread to all over the infected individual’s body roughly three to five days later
  • Before a rash breaks out, Koplik Spots, or white spots on the inside of their mouth may appear. 

The specific source of the outbreak is unknown, however the Oregonian reported that low immunization rates in the area meant that it was only a matter of time before a preventable outbreak like this one took hold in the Pacific Northwest. 

The Associated Press noted  the Northwest as a “hot spot” for anti-vaccination sentiment, saying that both states where the outbreak has been observed “allow vaccine exemptions for personal reasons.”

Clark County Public Health Officer Alan Melnick said that if vaccination rates don’t go up, the area could be seeing more incidents like this one moving forward.

The bottom line is, there’s no surprise we’re seeing this right now,” Melnick said.

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