What's going on with the latest measles outbreak?

Measles mumps and rubella vaccine at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae Calif. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee last week declared a state of emergency because of the outbreak in the Northwest

The anti-vaxx movement's role in the latest measles outbreak

The AP noted that Clark County, Washington, has a vaccination rate of 78 percent, which is too low to protect those with compromised immune systems, those who can not get vaccinated because of medical problems, or those who are too young.

Health officials traced the outbreak in Washington to an unvaccinated worldwide traveler. Outside of the family noted above, there are no reports of secondary cases of measles. Because measles is contagious even before people realize they are sick, people who are not vaccinated may unknowingly spread the virus.

According to WAC 246-105-030, measles is one of many diseases for which a child is required to be vaccinated against or show proof of immunity, before attending any school (public or private) or child care center. But it can cause pneumonia and swelling of the brain for people who have not been immunized. Effective treatments for people with measles are largely limited to drinking lots of fluids, rest, Vitamin A and over the counter pain relievers. "There is no magic bullet cure to fight it". 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 people start opting out, the broader the risk becomes. The department also has a calendar of clinic dates and times.

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In short, a harsh measles outbreak hit the United States this year, and the main reason why the virus spread so fast across the young populations is the anti-vaxxer movement which considers vaccines as harmful for children.

Measles virus travels through the air.

"Measles is airborne and highly contagious, so if you aren't vaccinated and you're exposed to somebody who has measles, you'll most likely get them", Howell said.

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Smith has an appointment to get her son vaccinated as soon as he's eligible - the day after he turns 1.

One vaccine provides 93 per cent immunity from measles, and two shots provide 97 per cent protection.

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