Measles Outbreak Got Traction Due To Anti-Vaxxer Movement

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Harris' bill would preserve the medical and religious exemptions for the MMR vaccine and would preserve philosophical exemptions for other vaccines.

The Chelan-Douglas Health District says state law requires children get the MMR or Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine or show proof of immunity before attending any public or private school or child care center.

Officials say the vast majority of people who have been infected are likely children of parents who decided not to have them vaccinated. Washoe County Health District officials note that measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee last week declared a state of emergency because of the outbreak. More than a half-dozen more cases are suspected, and people who were exposed to the disease travelled to Hawaii and Bend, Oregon, raising the possibility of more diagnoses in the unvaccinated.

"As we get into generations of the outbreak, this can persist for weeks, if not months", said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health director. Because measles is contagious even before people realize they are sick, people who are not vaccinated may unknowingly spread the virus.

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Early symptoms include a fever, runny nose and malaise, followed by a rash that starts around the head and moves down the body. "The good news is that Utah has no measles cases". Vaccinations are free for children and low cost for adults at area hospitals through a partnership with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, as well, which partners with Mary Bridge Children's Hospital's free vaccination clinics for children.

The more you know about measles... "And a few days after that, you get that famous rash", explained Alok Patel, MD, a pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Herd immunity is a level of vaccination at which people who can't safely get vaccines (because they have HIV, cancer, or other conditions which make their immune systems more fragile) are protected.

Measles was the No. 1 killer of children worldwide before the vaccine was made available in 1963.

Foreign travel or exposure to foreign travelers increases the risk for measles.

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