Inslee Declares State of Emergency in Washington over Measles Outbreak
Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency in Washington as the measles outbreak entered in Clark County. He called the situation “extreme public-health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.”
As of Friday, in Clark County, there were 30 confirmed cases and one single case in King County. The man in King County in his 50s contracted measles and was hospitalized after a recent trip to Vancouver, according to the state Department of Health (DOH). As per the Clark County, Public Health reports there were additional nine cases of measles suspected.
According to Tara Lee, spokeswoman for the governor, State agencies would work with local health departments and emergency management teams to respond to any needs like epidemiology to verify suspected cases, technical assistance to educate the public on measles outbreaks and guidance on how to protect vulnerable populations.
Respective local Governments would have to make separate requests for assistance.
The proclamation of health emergency would allow the Washington State to ask for medical resources from other states.
Washington’s Emergency Operations Center is also coordinating resources to support the Department of Health and local officials to reduce the impact of the outbreak, and assess for any possible long-term effects of this outbreak.
According to the state health department, people who lack vaccinations may unknowingly spread the disease since it is contagious before people know they’re sick. The agency is advising people to check their immunization records to ensure they are protected.
Clark County has already declared its own local public-health emergency after the outbreak. Out of the 30 reported cases, 26 had not been immunized, and the vaccination status of four others was unverified. As per researchers, Portland is considered as the hot spot for infections due to a high rate of nonmedical exemptions from vaccines.
According to Clark County’s Public Health Department, 21 of the infected people are under the age of ten, eight are between the ages of 11 and 18, and an alone case is of someone between the age of 19 and 29.
According to Public Health — Seattle & King County, Measles symptoms are fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes and this highly contagious disease can quickly be spread through the air when a measles-infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes.
Infants and children under 5, adults older than 20, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk of complication.
Clark County Public Health advises anyone who believes being infected or experiencing any of the symptoms to avoid affecting others to call a health-care provider, to discuss being evaluated before going to a doctor.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two doses of vaccine which is supposed to be 97 percent effective, will protect people from measles for the lifetime. And for the three percent, people who will be infected irrespective of vaccination are likely to get a mild illness, and they are less likely to spread to others.
As per the CDC, those born before 1957 to be protected from measles because they’ve been exposed to epidemics and have likely developed an immunity.
Public health officials in King County have released a list of places and times where nonimmunized people have a higher chance of being infected like Boeing construction site in Auburn, high-school basketball games in Kent and multiple medical facilities in Covington.
The locations with high risk in Clark County and Oregon include schools in Battle Ground and Vancouver, Portland International Airport and a number of churches.