Second case of measles reported in the Vancouver area

Washington measles outbreak Why we should fear this vaccine-preventable disease

Washington measles outbreak Why we should fear this vaccine-preventable disease

Back in 2015, the state garnered the dubious distinction of having the first measles death in the United States in 12 years.

Despite this, cases have popped up in 11 states so far this winter.

An uptick in measles cases in any given year can be caused by global travelers who bring the virus back to the U.S. Measles also can spread quickly in areas with "pockets of unvaccinated people", the CDC says.

However, vaccinations can increase herd immunity, a scenario in which enough people get vaccines that it's hard for a virus to spread in a community. A full course of the measles vaccine - which consists of two doses - is about 97% effective at stopping the measles, while a single dose is 93% effective.

Most states allow religious exemptions for school vaccination requirements, and 17 states, including Washington and OR, allow parents to exempt their children for personal, moral OR other beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Additionally, 47 states allow for religious exemptions from the vaccine.

Medical experts on Wednesday stressed the importance of vaccination in combatting the spread of measles virus in some regions of the country.

Parents, please educate yourself. Please vaccinate your children. Study after study has shown this to be untrue.

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The surge in cases is "not surprising" given the rise of anti-vaccine activism and a recent importation of cases from outside the country, says Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, who heads the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. What he conveniently forgot to mention was that he was working on developing his own competing vaccine. That's similar to Washington, which allows parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children because of personal beliefs. At the very least, she says schools should collect information on which children have their immunizations up to date.

"My oldest son, he had a vaccine reaction at 4 months and my doctor told me it was a coincidence, these things happen sometimes", she said. It is the parents' obligation to have their children vaccinated and it is the right of the child to be protected from diseases. "These individuals were in close contact with the first case", said Beth Byrne, community relations specialist for Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs.

The solution is simple: the government must act.

"Unless you have a clear medically based exemption need, and I mean clear, you should be getting your shots".

These are not archaic times. She says she's anxious that diseases health officials have considered eradicated will come back.

Revisiting our existing state laws is both a timely and complicated process, but it is essential to impose legal ramifications against actions that put other children in harm's way. SSPE generally develops seven to 10 years after a person has measles, even though the person seems to have fully recovered from the illness.

Enough is enough. Before measles becomes an epidemic again, we must address the epidemic of widespread medical misinformation once and for all.

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