Patients in Northwest measles outbreak travelled to Hawaii

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Though being unvaccinated obviously left the sick individuals vulnerable to the disease, but those cases have not been connected to the Washington state outbreak and it is unclear how they contracted it.

Washington, Idaho and OR are among 18 states that allow parents to opt out of immunizing their children for philosophical reasons. That is a loophole that should be closed, and a bill introduced by Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, would do just that. Those opposed to certain vaccines also object to an outside authority mandating what they put in their children's bodies, and some have concerns about the combination of the measles vaccine with the mumps and rubella immunizations, which is how it's routinely given.

Many people are unable to receive the vaccine because of existing medical conditions or because they are too young, while others eschew immunizations because of religious beliefs. Melnick said one need look no further than his county's official Facebook page to glimpse the rampant (and at times sophisticated) anti-vaccine propaganda that's spreading around the area. That movement can be traced to a fraudulent report by a British doctor that has since been discredited.

The two-dose vaccine against measles was introduced in 1978 in the United States, and by 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared it 'eliminated'. These would typically result in 400 to 500 deaths and about 1,000 cases of encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Despite doctors managed to persuade more than half of those refusing parents, the number of people with measles is growing. Washoe County Health District officials note that measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Most of the confirmed cases have been children under 10.

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The revelation prompted public health officials in Oregon's Deschutes County and in Hawaii to issue alerts, although no cases were confirmed in either location. People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.

The governor of Washington last week declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak, which authorities have said could last for months. Plano and Fort Worth were specifically mentioned for high exemption rates.

A bill supported by some Democrats in the state Legislature's majority would ban all non-medical exemptions from vaccination requirements for children in NY. The Legislature should close an ill-founded loophole that endangers our community.