Measles Outbreak Leads to Public Health Emergency

A SOUTHWESTERN Washington county has declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak as cases mount among unvaccinated children.

Since Jan. 1, health officials have confirmed 22 cases of measles in Clark Countyup from 16 confirmed cases last week. An additional three cases of the highly contagious viral infection are suspected.

“We’re in a race against the virus,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, director of Clark County Public Health, according to area paper The Daily News.

Among the 22 confirmed cases, 17 are children under 10 years old and one person is over 18. Nineteen had not been vaccinated for measles, while health officials said the immunization status for three cases was not verified. One child was hospitalized.

Friday’s emergency declaration “enables Public Health to have access to additional resources outside of our regional area,” officials said.

The county’s measles outbreak comes amid cases elsewhere in the country. New York, for example, has seen more than 160 cases since September. Across the country in 2018, a total of 349 cases in 26 states and the District of Columbia were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 120 cases in 2017.

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