The State of Alaska warns that Alaskans who have visited various public places in Washington State and Portland, Oregon may be at risk of contracting measles if they aren't up-to-date on their Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccination. In recent years, however, the viral illness has popped up again from NY to California and sickened hundreds. OR also has a high nonmedical exemption rate for vaccinations-one 2018 state analysis found a rate among kindergarteners of 7.5 percent, with the number for K-12 students climbing as high as 10 percent in some counties.
The governor has declared a public health emergency after 34 cases of the viral illness were confirmed.
"What keeps me up at night is eventually having a child die from this completely preventable situation", he said.
What is measles, how does it spread?
On Jan. 16 health officials out of Denver alerted the public of a measles exposure in Colorado. One adult case has also been identified in nearby Kings County, according to Vox's Julia Belluz.
Clark County Public Health has been regularly updating its list of locations where people may have been exposed to measles.
They announced Monday that others could have been infected at the popular Oregon Museum of Science & Industry in Portland and a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the bedroom community of Vancouver, Washington. At least 31 of those sick were not vaccinated.More news: Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar could be out for season
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Who cares if measles are the most contagious of any disease known to man. But measles is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travelers infected overseas can bring the virus back and spread it, causing periodic outbreaks.
Officials still are not sure where the Northwest outbreak began.
The first known patients in this outbreak sought medical care on December 31, but officials don't know if other people may have gotten sick before that and did not seek treatment, the AP reported. The measles vaccine consists of two shots, one given by age 2 and the second usually between ages 4 and 6. The introduction of the vaccine, which is 97 percent effective after two doses, dramatically reduced measles rates in the country.
Over the last few years, flu vaccination effectiveness rate has hovered around 40 percent, which may lead to confusion about other vaccines.
"The media tends to distort this", she said.
The measles virus is spread through the air and lingers for hours. The highly contagious childhood infection, which is caused by a virus, is considered extremely rare, with only 188 reported cases in the United States in 2015.
The most recognizable symptom is a red, blotchy rash.