Submitted by San Juan County
Washington state is experiencing a second measles outbreak within five months, with six new cases confirmed in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties since May 9. This is separate from the previous outbreak that happened earlier this year, which was largely contained to the Clark County/Vancouver, Washington, area.
The Department of Health website is being updated daily with details on the current status of the outbreak, which includes an extensive list of locations in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties where individuals may have been exposed. SeaTac International Airport is the likely source of exposure for the recently confirmed cases. Additional cases are expected due to the large number of people who may have been exposed in locations throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. No cases have been confirmed in San Juan County.
San Juan County Health & Community Services notified medical providers and schools last week and provided information about the current measles outbreak.
Because measles is so highly contagious, anyone who is unvaccinated is likely to contract measles even by just breathing the air in the room where an infected person has been within the past two hours. Infants, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable, though the disease can be extremely dangerous for even very healthy persons.
The first symptoms of measles are like a bad cold—a high fever, runny nose and cough, followed by a rash that usually lasts five to six days. Other symptoms include red, watery eyes that are sensitive to light and feel very tired. Call your healthcare provider before going to the clinic or hospital if you are experiencing these symptoms. This is especially important if you have been to an area with recent exposure locations associated with the current measles outbreak.
Public health officials urge individuals to check their immunization status and those of their families, and to get up-to-date on the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is the best protection against measles.
Additional information and resources on measles, including how to check your or your child’s immunization status may be found on the Washington State Department of Health website: www.doh.wa.gov/measles, and San Juan County Health & Community Services website: https://www.sanjuanco.com/1611/Measles-2019.