Information for B.C. residents about measles outbreak in Washington state

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With the variety of measles circumstances rising in Washington state, listed here are some issues to remember in regards to the contagious illness.

In Clark County, Washington, near Portland, health officials announced five new possible cases on Tuesday, bringing the total count there to 23 confirmed and 7 suspected of having the illness.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people.

Oregon health officials said the outbreak has spread to their state, as a Multnomah resident was diagnosed with measles, The Oregonian reported. Thirty of the confirmed cases are in Clark County and one confirmed case is in King County.

Clark County, located across the Columbia River from Portland, Oreg., has confirmed 23 cases since January 1, reports Newsweek. A person can spread the virus before they show symptoms.

Eighteen states allow non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccinations for philosophical beliefs. Most of the confirmed cases - 21 - were with children between 1 and 10 years old.

Although some people can not get vaccinations due to immune system issues or allergies, others do not get their children shots due to religious or philosophical beliefs. The second-highest number of cases since 2000 was in 2018, with 349 infections reported. The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists.

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Across the United States, 2 percent of children did not receive standard immunizations for non-medically exempt reasons in the 2017-2018 school year.

"If the measles virus is introduced from overseas into populations that have not had the vaccination, it will spread very widely since measles is probably the most contagious virus we know", says Schaffner.

The county's public health department says people may have been exposed at the Kaiser Cascade Park Medical Office on Jan. 19, a Costco on Jan. 16, a Dollar Tree on Jan. 15, and the Portland International Airport on Jan. 15.

Southwest District Health says health care providers should consider measles if they see patients with symptoms like fever and malaise followed by a rash that starts at the head and moves down the body.

A laboratory confirmed that you just had measles in some unspecified time in the future in your life.

Schaffner adds, "It's no joke".

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