A measure introduced by Republican Rep. Paul Harris of Vancouver, Washington - the epicenter of the current outbreak - would remove the personal exemption specifically for the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR. Washington also has a higher-than-average percentage of vaccine exemptions.
Washington and OR are among 17 states that allow some type of non-medical exemption for vaccines for "personal, moral OR other beliefs", according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 44 people in southwest Washington's Clark County and in and around Portland, Ore., have been infected with measles during the past couple of weeks.
Prompted by the outbreak Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies are reminding people that they are offering measles vaccination, for extended hours seven days a week and accept most insurance plans. "I'm just so scared", she said. The outbreak of the highly contagious disease has spread to OR and the Seattle area. DOH urges everyone to check their immunization records to verify that they are fully immunized and get vaccinated if they are not already.
If a local outbreak is confirmed, the state law authorizes schools (public or private), child care centers, or the local Health Officer to exclude any child or staff who does not proof of immunization. At the time in the USA, the disease annually infected between 3-4 million people and killed as many as 500.
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Officials haven't yet determined how the measles outbreak started.
Last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the US.
Recognize the symptoms. Early signs of measles resemble those of a cold or the flu: a runny nose, cough, fever, red eyes and sore throat tend to appear before the telltale rash begins to spread. They can die from pneumonia or encephalitis - brain swelling - brought on by the measles. "And a few days after that, you get that famous rash".
Herd immunity, or community immunity, is when enough of the population is vaccinated to protect those who haven't been vaccinated for medical reasons or because they are too young. And the worst part of the measles outbreak would be that this virus is deadly for the majority of newborns and individuals with a weak immune system.