Officials in Clark County, Washington have declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak believed to have stemmed from a combination of high nonmedical vaccine exemptions rates for schools in the Portland, Oregon area. Portland, Oregon sits across the Columbia River from Clark County.
Public health officials noted in a statement that there were only a handful of measles cases last week, then by Friday confirmed cases had grown to 19. The latest update noted 23 confirmed measles cases. Officials could also say that someone infected with measles had visited the Portland International Airport, various schools and churches and had gone to a Trail Blazers game on January 11th.
The county also warned that measles are so contagious that “90% of people that come close to a person not immune will also become infected.”
While highly contagious, there is a measles vaccination. Measles usually results in a rash, fever and flu-like symptoms but can lead to more serious medical issues in small children, the elderly and those with already compromised immune systems.