Measles outbreak spreads to Texas

A child receives a vaccine in a hospital in Belgrade Serbia

According to the Centers for Disease Control, before the vaccine was licensed in the early 1960s, the US would see an average around 500,000 cases of measles every year.

Vaccination rates for measles, mumps and rubella in Ukraine fell sharply over a number of years during its conflict with Russian Federation, reaching 31% in 2016 - among the lowest in the world. "I would rather it not take an outbreak for this to happen", Alan Melnick, the Clark County health officer overseeing the response, told KHN.

Two adults died from measles in 2017 in the UK.

Europe had a record number of measles cases past year, in part due to a growing number of pockets where parents are refusing to vaccinate their children, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

Some 95% of children received the first dose of the vaccine. If someone is immunized within 72 hours, they can often fight off illness.

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In Clark County, the confirmed cases include two infected residents who moved to Georgia, as well as two children who had traveled to Hawaii, where they were quarantined and did not spread measles to others. Concern over the vaccine can be traced back to a 1998 paper by former doctor Andrew Wakefield, who falsely linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism. Measles usually starts with high fever, cough, and runny nose, as well as red, watery eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here's what you need to know.

The vast majority of Vancouver-area cases were not vaccinated against the virus. Health officials say the shots are safe and effective, providing about 93 percent protection with one dose and 97 percent with two doses.

"The measles vaccine isn't flawless, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness", said Dr. Alan Melnick of the Clark County Public Health Department.

"This outbreak has put people at real risk", said Ann Thomas, public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority. Three times as many people have gotten vaccinated in January - from 200 per day in 2018 to 600 per day in 2019.

On Wednesday, officials sent letters to families of 5,000 children in Multnomah County, telling them they'll be excluded from school if they don't have up-to-date immunizations or valid exemptions by February 20. It is 99% effective at preventing measles infection.

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