Tuesday, January 29, 2019

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CNN: Washington is under a state of emergency as measles cases rise

" Last week, a person infected with measles attended a Portland Trail Blazers home game in Oregon amid the outbreak. Contagious people also went to Portland International Airport, as well as to hospitals, schools, stores, churches and restaurants across Washington's Clark County and the two-state region, county officials said. "
From The Columbian:  "The virus lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person, and can survive for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed."

Like in an airplane?

We arrived at Portland International Airport yesterday from Phoenix. Our flight was packed and it seemed everyone was sneezing.

It started even before we got on the plane. We had to take a shuttle from the rental car area to the main terminal and we were surrounded by small children, most too young to know to cover one's mouth. We considered holding our breath for the entirety of our commute but figured we wouldn't last the two mile journey.

The flight was similarly packed with children. (On a Monday. Don't these kids have school?) Even the adults were coughing and sneezing, all around us.

Of the 36 cases of measles in Clark County, 31 involve people who were not immunized. According to the Washington State Department of Health, 7.9% of children entering kindergarten had a vaccine exemption - meaning a signed Certificate of Exemption excusing the student from one or more vaccinations due to medical, personal, or religious beliefs - during the 2017-18 school year in Clark County compared to 4.7% of the kindergarteners statewide. For all grades K-12, 7.5% of students in Clark County had some exemption from immunizations versus 4.9% for all of Washington (which breaks down to 7.5% for private schools versus 4.7% for public schools statewide).

Here in Clark County, 12.2% of students in the Battle Ground School District alone had exemptions (with an enrollment of 14,523). The worst school district in the state, by the way, is Orchard Prairie School District (40.7%) in Spokane County while the worst school is St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Christian School in Yakima (68%) so I guess things could be worse.

I've been immunized against the measles as well as the flu but I loaded up on Vitamin C today anyway. And I plan to stay in bed until March as a safeguard.

Seriously, if you think you have the measles, call your healthcare provider before going to see the doctor to safeguard against spreading the infection to others in the waiting room. And, if you're a parent, consider getting your kids vaccinated. (The Washington state legislature has introduced a bill that would ban personal exemptions for the measles vaccine.)

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