Measles cases in Europe `highest in decade´

A pedestrian walks past an informational sign about the measles in the entrance of the Kaiser Perman

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Clark County public health director, Dr. Alan Melnick, said the measles outbreak is still evolving.

As stated by to the state health department, orders for two types of measles medicines in Clark County increased by nearly 500 percent in January compared with the same month a year ago, from 530 doses to 3,150. "We have vaccines that are very cheap, very effective, and very, very safe". According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if a person has measles, 90 per cent of those in proximity will also contract the virus unless they have been vaccinated or are immune. Lower vaccination rates can lead to higher death rates.

Advocates on both sides of the childhood vaccines debate are expected to attend. When administered after 72 hours, the vaccine is less likely to prevent illness, and if the person develops a rash, there is a small chance that the rash is due to the vaccine.

Most of the countries struggling with suboptimal immunization coverage against measles in the Region are middle-income countries.

As of Wednesday, the Clark County Public Health Department had confirmed 50 cases of meales since January 1. An additional case was confirmed in King County, which includes Seattle, and in Multnomah County, Oregon, which includes Portland and lies across the Columbia River from Clark County.

The record numbers came despite the fact that more European children than ever before are being vaccinated against the highly-contagious infectious disease. The second dose provides 97 percent protection.

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Public health officials have attributed the outbreak to vaccine coverage of less than 50 percent of the population when the outbreak began.

The Northwest cases are among three ongoing measles outbreaks in the USA that sickened 79 people in January, according to the CDC.

"These outbreaks are associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring", the CDC says.

But when children who are unvaccinated shop in the same stores and go to the same events as everyone else, that's when they can get exposed.

Washington state Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) has introduced a measurethat would remove personal belief exemptions for the MMR vaccine.

Studies have reaffirmed that vaccines do not cause autism, as often referred to by parents who refuse vaccinations.

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