Northwest measles outbreak revives debate over vaccine laws

Nora Nguyen
February 6, 2019

Before the vaccine's introduction in 1963, there were four million measles cases in the US every year, with 48,000 hospitalizations and 500 deaths.

Measles is highly contagious.

The outbreak investigation, which is ongoing has identified 49 confirmed cases since January 1. So what can you do to help keep measles out of this community? To create "herd immunity" that helps protect those who can't get the vaccine (such as young infants or those with weak immune systems), you need about 95% vaccination, so the 94% isn't flawless - and in some states and communities, that number is even lower.

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A number of specific details about the cases in Houston have not been publicly disclosed, including how it is believed that the individuals contracted the disease and if they were previously vaccinated. If a person with measles is in a room and simply coughs, a person that is in the same room and it is not vaccinated, can get the virus from the droplets in the air.

"Call your doctor, they can review your symptoms with you and then make arrangements to come in in a safe way so you don't infect other people if you need to be seen in person", she added.

The health department said there are two other potential cases of measles that are pending as they wait for test results. High fever, rash all over the body, stuffy nose and reddened eyes are typical measles symptoms, though these usually disappear without treatment within two or three weeks. In total, at least 79 cases have been reported across the country in 2019. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 100,000 young children had not had a vaccination against any of the 14 diseases for which shots are recommended. Around the globe, measles infections were responsible for 110,000 deaths in 2017, the most recent statistical year. Children less than 5 years old and adults older than 20 are at highest risk of complications.

Icy weather likely Wednesday
Untreated surfaces across the region will be icy and slippery, and driver are encouraged to drive according to those conditions. Freezing rain is the primary threat, which will make roads and sidewalks very slippery.

Known as the MMR or measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, the vaccine is very effective, the CDC says. However, there are still means to regain the momentum to continue and strongly support the routine immunization of children to protect them from acquiring vaccine-preventable diseases.

Health Undersecretary Erik Domingo said rumors that the supply of measles vaccine have ran out are "not true". Serious complications include brain swelling that can cause blindness or deafness and pneumonia.

A child who received only one dose of the measles vaccine is the newest person diagnosed with the disease, according to a Friday update from Clark County Public Health.

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The university has website set up with a physical address to a building on Northwestern Highway just south of 13 Mile. The Indian Embassy here and its consulates are in touch with student organisation and offered help.

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