As of Wednesday, the Clark County Public Health Department had confirmed 50 cases of meales since January 1. In Clark County, which has so far seen 49 measles cases in children mainly under 10, only 78 per cent of young people from kindergarten through high school have been vaccinated. Washington and NY, which has seen about 200 people infected with measles in recent months, are the only states with current outbreaks, the agency says.
Statewide in Washington, orders for measles vaccine jumped about 30 percent, climbing from 12,140 doses to 15,780 doses, figures showed.
However, measles is highly contagious. It's so contagious that it can live in an air space for two hours. It causes a range of symptoms including fever, cough and a rash. Severe complications include pneumonia, which can be fatal, and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), which can lead to convulsions, hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities in children.
"Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent measles", said Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health. That is almost a 500 percent jump in orders from January past year, when the total was just 530.
Across the USA, 10 states - California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington - reported 79 confirmed measles cases in January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By the end of 2017, the percentage of children in Ukraine who had been vaccinated had significantly improved, to about 90% but, the World Health Organization says, this now needs to be sustained to protect the population from further outbreaks of measles. Anyone born since 1978 who is unsure if they have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine, such as MMR, should speak with their GP.
Washington is one of many states with non-medical exemptions.
Health clinics are scrambling to keep up with sudden demand, mostly among parents of children in Southwest Washington who had not been inoculated.
The orders represent only state-supplied vaccines requested through the federal Vaccines for Children program, which provides free immunizations to children who otherwise couldn't afford them. One person had one dose of the vaccine, which is 93 percent effective.
Multnomah County officials have reported a steep uptick in vaccinations over this time a year ago.
"This outbreak has put people at real risk", said Ann Thomas, public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority.