Washington Gov. Inslee declares state of emergency over measles outbreak

This 1958 photograph reveals the skin rash on a patient’s abdomen 3-days after the onset of a measles infection. Photo courtesy CDC/Heinz F. Eichenwald, MD

Jan. 26 (UPI) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency over the measles outbreak and Oregon officials have reported an infection has spread there.

The declaration applies to all counties in the state. More than two dozen cases have been confirmed statewide.

Inslee’s declaration allows emergency management to request additional medical resources from other states.

“Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children,” Inslee said in a statement. “The existence of 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.”

By Saturday, the total of confirmed cases had risen to 31, Washington’s Department of Health reported. Thirty of the confirmed cases are in Clark County and one confirmed case is in King County.

“The Washington State Department of Health has instituted an infectious disease Incident Management Structure to manage the public health aspects of the incident to include investigations, laboratory testing and other efforts to protect communities,” Inslee said. “Meanwhile, the Washington Military Department is coordinating resources to support DOH and local officials in alleviating the impacts to people, property and infrastructure.”

Oregon health officials said the outbreak has spread to their state, as a Multnomah resident was diagnosed with measles, The Oregonian reported.

Officials in Washington declared a measles outbreak earlier this week after 22 people had become infected.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 due to its vaccination program, but new outbreaks have been caused by travelers who brought the virus back from other countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC released data earlier this month that showed 2018 was the second worst year for measles in the United States since 2000, with 349 cases reported in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

The worst year since 2000 was 2014 with 667 cases reported, the CDC said.


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