A man from King County contracted measles after traveling to Vancouver, the largest suburb of Portland, Oregon, where a measles outbreak has spread to at least 25 people, according to the public health officials.
The King County resident, who is in his 50s, was hospitalized after the diagnosis of measles has been recovered and discharged, according to a statement from the Public Health Department of Seattle and King County.
Investigations have confirmed that the man suffered from measles. However, health officials said it is unclear whether he contracted measles from Vancouver, although he was exposed during his recent trip to Vancouver, Washington, according to health officials.
The signs and symptoms of measles are skin rash, fever, cough, and red/watery eyes. These symptoms are often experienced seven to 21 days after getting exposed to the virus. It is highly contagious four days before the occurrence of the first skin rash and four days after. Infants, children, adults above 20, and pregnant women are vulnerable to measles.
Last week, the Clark County Public Health Department declared an emergency because of a measles outbreak, confirming 25 cases with and 12 more suspected cases as of Thursday.
Of those confirmed cases who have contracted measles, 21 were not vaccinated, while health officials are still confirming the vaccination status of the other four cases. Researchers have even called the Portland, Oregon, a “hotspot” area for measles outbreak because of a high rate of an anti-vaccination movement.
Now, the King County area has also been designated a “hotspot” region because it is also one of the homes to pockets of the so-called anti-vaxxers. However, Dr. Jeff Duchin, a public health officer, reckons the risk of this case to King County residents is low. He said most people in this region have been immunized and health officials do not think this single infection will erupt a full-blown outbreak.
Many people may not opt for immunization for a variety of nonmedical reasons, including the notion that vaccines may cause autism, which has been refuted by the CDC.
In King County, more than 90 percent of the children at the kindergarten age have undergone immunization; they received the recommended two-dose MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, which is 97 percent effective against measles. However, that percentage may vary among schools and communities, while the target is to have at least 95 percent of children immunized to prevent measles outbreaks since it is extremely contagious.
Those who have not been vaccinated or had measles before are at risk if exposed to the disease again. People who suspect that they might have exposed should call a medical provider if they have a fever or an unexplained rash. It is important to call a hospital to get evaluated rather than just walking in to prevent spreading measles.
Public Health officials of King County have a list of times and places where unvaccinated people might have been exposed to the virus. According to Public Health, the report was updated after the lab tests confirmed that a King County man had contracted measles.