Kids traveling from Washington develop measles in Hawaii

Pearl Mccarthy
January 31, 2019

If you are unsure of your family's immunization status, you can view, download and print your family's immunization information online at or request a copy of your immunization record from the Washington State Department of Health.

The 35 confirmed cases in Washington state prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency.

There are another nine suspected cases.

And at least 30 of the infections are people who haven't had the measles vaccination, majority children between the ages of one and ten.

Over the last few years, flu vaccination effectiveness rate has hovered around 40 percent, which may lead to confusion about other vaccines.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that is airborne, meaning it spreads via sneezing and coughing. Children in Alaska must have received the immunization to attend school.

The MMR vaccine and MMRV vaccine are usually given in two doses to young children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The rise in nonmedical vaccine exemptions plays an important role, as noted by Peter Hotez, a Baylor College of Medicine infectious diseases researcher. "Before the vaccine became available in the '60s and we started mass vaccination, 400 to 500 people in the USA died every year", Melnick explained.

Thanks to the effectiveness of the measles vaccine, measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000.

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In a health alert from King County, it was said the man had recently traveled to Clark County.

The final confirmed case involved a patient between 19 and 29 years old.

"While we do want to have a heightened level of concern and be aware of measles, there are many more much more common viruses that are circulating", she said.

Washington state epidemiologist Scott Lindquist told NPR's Patti Neighmond this is likely only the beginning of the epidemic since numerous families with infected children traveled to very public places, including Costco, Ikea, the Portland International Airport and the arena where the Trail Blazers play. The health officials are not only fighting the outbreak but also a spread of misinformation.

People with measles symptoms should not go to child care facilities, school, work or out in public, since they may spread the disease to others.

If a high percentage of a given population are immunized against a disease, vaccines can protect event those who are not immune. The virus can live for up to two hours wherever an infected person has coughed or sneezed. The typical recommendations are that children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, the first between 12 to 15 months of age and the second between 4 and 6 years old.

Hawaii allowed the infected visitors to leave five days after the onset of measles, which can be spread to others four days before and four days after the rash begins, according to the Oregonian.

Earlier this week, authorities were successful in identifying several people who had been exposed but were not sick yet.

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