Washington's exemption rate, although lower, is also high when compared with other states. However, now that consequences of these choices have spread, anti-vaxx parents are storming their brains for ways to protect their children (this should be the updated dictionary definition of cognitive dissonance). "The best defense against infection is vaccination, which the CDC says is about 97 percent effective", added Patel.
Thirty-one of the confirmed patients had not been vaccinated against measles.
Health officials in Washington state have declared a state of emergency over the measles. People are contagious long before they show symptoms and nearly everyone who is not immune through vaccinations will get measles if they are exposed to the virus.
"I would hope that this ends soon, but this could go on for weeks, if not months", said Dr. Alan Melnick, public health director in Clark County, Washington, just north of Portland.
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Officials still are not sure where the Northwest outbreak began. Symptoms can start like any other really bad cold: "a cough, runny nose, not feeling very well, red eyes", he says.
The AP noted that Clark County, Washington, has a vaccination rate of 78 percent, which is too low to protect those with compromised immune systems, those who can not get vaccinated because of medical problems, or those who are too young.
Measles was the No. 1 killer of children worldwide before the vaccine was made available in 1963.
Measles virus travels through the air. But measles is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travelers infected overseas can bring the virus back and spread it, causing periodic outbreaks.
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The CDC advises those who believe they are infected should stay home for four days after developing the rash to minimize the likelihood of spreading the disease.
Herd immunity is a level of vaccination at which people who can't safely get vaccines (because they have HIV, cancer, or other conditions which make their immune systems more fragile) are protected.
Foreign travel or exposure to foreign travelers increases the risk for measles. Anyone who becomes sick or thinks they may have been exposed to measles should contact their health care provider immediately and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles.
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