A measles outbreak has sickened at least 41 kids and young adults in Clark County, Washington, along with a man from the Seattle area and someone in Oregon.
So, how is it that a disease that's been declared eradicated in the u.S.
Advocates of the anti-vaccine movement, which is strong in the western United States, continue to spread misinformation on social media, Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County public health director, told the AP.
'If you have a large unvaccinated population and you add measles to the mix, one measles case will infect 90 percent of contacts, and the early symptoms are not distinguishable from other respiratory illnesses - and you're contagious at that point, ' Dr Melnick said. One vaccine provides 93 percent immunity from measles, and two shots provide 97 percent protection.
"Now is a great time for all families to take action by reviewing their vaccination records and be sure that everyone is up to date and has completed the vaccination series for measles", health officials said.
Although Chelan and Douglas Counties do not now have a confirmed case of measles, the District is trying to be preemptive.
Patients in Northwest measles outbreak travelled to Hawaii
Washington, Idaho and OR are among 18 states that allow parents to opt out of immunizing their children for philosophical reasons. Washoe County Health District officials note that measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Measles was basically eradicated in the USA after the introduction of the vaccine.
But in recent years, there's been a resurgence of the disease both in the U.S. and overseas, and experts believe its return is fueled by anti-vaccination laws, groups and lobbies, experts say. Washington also has a higher-than-average percentage of vaccine exemptions. You can get measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 90 percent of unvaccinated people exposed to the measles virus come down with the disease. There has been no connection made between the outbreak in Washington and the three cases in Georgia. "Symptoms can start like any other really bad cold: a cough, runny nose, not feeling very well, red eyes", he says.
Patients are contagious four days before and four days after getting the rash.
Prompted by the outbreak Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies are reminding people that they are offering measles vaccination, for extended hours seven days a week and accept most insurance plans.
The CDC also says 81 people brought measles into the USA from other countries last year-the greatest number of imported cases since the measles was eliminated from the U.S.in 2000.