Public Health Emergency Declared After Measles Outbreak on Anti-Vaccination Hotspot

After an anti-vax hotpot near Portland, Oregon, the public health department has declared emergency after a measles outbreak.

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Public Health Emergency Anti Vaccination Hotspot

A rapidly intensifying measles outbreak near Portland, Oregon, has led the Clark County health officials to declare a public health emergency, as they warn that those infected with measles have visited public places, schools, churches, clinics, Ikea, and business places.

The health officials advised that somebody with measles was at the Portland International Airport on January 7. On January 11, an infected person attended a Trails Blazer home game.

There were only a few confirmed cases at the beginning of last week. However, on Friday, the day public health emergency was declared, the count went up to 19 and by Sunday, there were 21 confirmed cases of measles.

The recent update came on Tuesday when health officials confirmed 23 cases of measles with two more suspected cases undergoing investigation. Most of them who are affected by the infection had not been vaccinated.

Douglas J. Opel, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said in an interview with The Washington Post, “It’s alarming.” “Any time we have an outbreak of a disease that we have a safe and effective vaccine against, it should raise a red flag.”

The state data shows that 7.9 percent of children were exempted in the 2017-2018 school year from immunization needed for kindergarten entry; this includes the two-dose course, which is 97 percent effective, says CDC.

In Clark County, nearly 7 percent of the children were not vaccinated due to personal or religious reasons. Overall, about 3 percent of children avoided vaccination for nonmedical reasons.

Peter J. Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, explained that the high rate of exemption for immunization on nonmedical backgrounds is what makes Portland a hotspot area for a measles outbreak. The professor added, “It’s really awful and really tragic and totally preventable.”

Of all the confirmed cases, 18 are between 1 and 10 years of age. Twenty of them had not been vaccinated against measles, while the immunization history of the others remained unverified and one was hospitalized.

Health officials suggest that this measles outbreak could still be in its early stages. The incubation period of measles is two weeks, which can be contagious four days before the appearance of a rash.

Hotez said measles is bound to recur in areas with relatively low immunization rate because it is the most highly contagious among others. He also said Portland is a total train wreck when it comes to vaccine rates.

Experts are sounding alerts about the geographical grouping of people who refuse to take a vaccine shot, which makes them vulnerable despite the overall high rate of immunization.

Another stronghold of the anti-vax movement was seen in Asheville, North Carolina, which succumbed to the worst chickenpox outbreak in November.

The anti-vaccination movement that was started on debunked research published in 1998, which associated the vaccine for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) with autism, is not exclusive to one side of the political divide; it tends to find its most fervent supporters at both extremes, according to surveys.

Hotex cautioned that measles is a great price to pay for ignorance about immunization. It is, in fact, one of the most serious infectious diseases. He also said measles became the global killer in children after smallpox was eradicated in 1980.

The U.S. public health officials, in 2000, declared measles is eliminated because even after more than a year, there was no continuous transmission of the infectious disease.

However, recent measles outbreaks provide evidence of harmful backsliding in contamination of the virus, blaming the anti-vax movement. This is indeed a self-inflicted wound.

In 2015, in northwestern Washington, a woman died of pneumonia after catching measles. It was the first death from the measles since 2003.

According to CDC, last year, we saw the second highest number of diagnosed cases of measles since 2000.

349 measles cases were diagnosed across 26 states and the District of Columbia, surpassing by 667 measles cases in 2014.

A year before, Minnesota reported 75 measles cases, mostly in a Somali community, where the questioned theory blaming MMR for autism had taken hold.

Health officials explain that the cause of frequent outbreaks is due to periodic traveling by people. They say a greater level of protection is essential to prevent transmission of this highly contagious virus. More than 92 percent of the population should be vaccinated in order to prevent the outbreaks. The Clark County’s public health department emphasized how easily measles can spread. It is so contagious that a person is affected by measles, 90 percent of the people around him or her who are not vaccinated are prone to get infected.

A rapidly intensifying measles outbreak near Portland, Oregon, has led the Clark County health officials to declare a public health emergency, as they warn that those infected with measles have visited public places, schools, churches, clinics, Ikea, and business places.

The health officials advised that somebody with measles was at the Portland International Airport on January 7. On January 11, an infected person attended a Trails Blazer home game.

There were only a few confirmed cases at the beginning of last week. However, on Friday, the day public health emergency was declared, the count went up to 19 and by Sunday, there were 21 confirmed cases of measles.

The recent update came on Tuesday when health officials confirmed 23 cases of measles with two more suspected cases undergoing investigation. Most of them who are affected by the infection had not been vaccinated.

Douglas J. Opel, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said in an interview with The Washington Post, “It’s alarming.” “Any time we have an outbreak of a disease that we have a safe and effective vaccine against, it should raise a red flag.”

The state data shows that 7.9 percent of children were exempted in the 2017-2018 school year from immunization needed for kindergarten entry; this includes the two-dose course, which is 97 percent effective, says CDC.

In Clark County, nearly 7 percent of the children were not vaccinated due to personal or religious reasons. Overall, about 3 percent of children avoided vaccination for nonmedical reasons.

Peter J. Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, explained that the high rate of exemption for immunization on nonmedical backgrounds is what makes Portland a hotspot area for a measles outbreak. The professor added, “It’s really awful and really tragic and totally preventable.”

Of all the confirmed cases, 18 are between 1 and 10 years of age. Twenty of them had not been vaccinated against measles, while the immunization history of the others remained unverified and one was hospitalized.

Health officials suggest that this measles outbreak could still be in its early stages. The incubation period of measles is two weeks, which can be contagious four days before the appearance of a rash.

Hotez said measles is bound to recur in areas with relatively low immunization rate because it is the most highly contagious among others. He also said Portland is a total train wreck when it comes to vaccine rates.

Experts are sounding alerts about the geographical grouping of people who refuse to take a vaccine shot, which makes them vulnerable despite the overall high rate of immunization.

Another stronghold of the anti-vax movement was seen in Asheville, North Carolina, which succumbed to the worst chickenpox outbreak in November.

The anti-vaccination movement that was started on debunked research published in 1998, which associated the vaccine for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) with autism, is not exclusive to one side of the political divide; it tends to find its most fervent supporters at both extremes, according to surveys.

Hotex cautioned that measles is a great price to pay for ignorance about immunization. It is, in fact, one of the most serious infectious diseases. He also said measles became the global killer in children after smallpox was eradicated in 1980.

The U.S. public health officials, in 2000, declared measles is eliminated because even after more than a year, there was no continuous transmission of the infectious disease.

However, recent measles outbreaks provide evidence of harmful backsliding in contamination of the virus, blaming the anti-vax movement. This is indeed a self-inflicted wound.

In 2015, in northwestern Washington, a woman died of pneumonia after catching measles. It was the first death from the measles since 2003.

According to CDC, last year, we saw the second highest number of diagnosed cases of measles since 2000.

349 measles cases were diagnosed across 26 states and the District of Columbia, surpassing by 667 measles cases in 2014.

A year before, Minnesota reported 75 measles cases, mostly in a Somali community, where the questioned theory blaming MMR for autism had taken hold.

Health officials explain that the cause of frequent outbreaks is due to periodic traveling by people. They say a greater level of protection is essential to prevent transmission of this highly contagious virus. More than 92 percent of the population should be vaccinated in order to prevent the outbreaks. The Clark County’s public health department emphasized how easily measles can spread. It is so contagious that a person is affected by measles, 90 percent of the people around him or her who are not vaccinated are prone to get infected.