A state of emergency has been declared in Washington due to an outbreak of measles.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued the proclamation which directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas. A proclamation is also necessary to utilize the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to request additional medical resources from other states.
As of yesterday, over 50 cases of measles have been reported and there’s no end in sight.
“Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children,” Inslee stated in his proclamation.
Measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious with measles leaves the area.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.
Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.
Measles complications can include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, vision loss, encephalitis (brain inflammation) and ultimately can be fatal.
Complications from measles can happen even in healthy people but those at highest risk include: infants and children under 5 years, adults over 20 years, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems from drugs or underlying disease.
The World Health Organization in November warned that measles cases worldwide had jumped more than 30 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, in part because of children not being vaccinated.
The disease was declared eliminated in the US in 2000 but has since made a comeback that is tied to imported cases and the rise of the anti-vaccine movement.