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State Health Department has not confirmed measles "patient zero"



The Washington State Health Department has not identified "patient zero" in the Clark County measles outbreak, which has counted 50 confirmed cases in Clark County and 55 total cases in Washington and Oregon since January 1

.

Some media stores have reported that "patient zero" was from another country. Julie Graham, a public information officer with the Health Department, said these reports are inaccurate.

Graham said "patient zero" is not a term used by the Health Department itself. "The concept of patient at zero was a term that someone thought that has no scientific significance for us."

Clark County Public Health Department Public Information Officer Marissa Armstrong said the first case in the Clark County outbreak was a child who had traveled to Clark County from outside the country – information announced in the first outbreak press release Jan . 4.

Graham said the State Health Department has confirmed that all Washington cases of measles since the first confirmed case matched the same wild strain of measles had the first case. This strain is currently circulating in Eastern Europe.

That does not mean that the child was "the patient's zero" of the outbreak, Armstrong noted, because it did not mean that they started the outbreak, just that they were the first confirmed case of public health.

"Just because this was the first case we identified and confirmed, does not mean that they are & nbsp; patient zero & # 39; and the source of the outbreak, & # 39; said Armstrong in an email." can never know who "patient zero" is and … it has no influence on how we respond to this outbreak. "

Clark County Public Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick said it just because someone is the first confirmed case In Clark County, does not mean that they are patient zero. He mentioned that there are probably unknown people with measles in the county who have not visited a healthcare provider.

Melnick also explained that he wants people not to focus at patient zero, but instead in ways that Clark County can improve its defense against outbreaks.

"I questioned the reasoning behind trying to find out who the patient is zero," said Melnick. "Are we trying to point to your finger or blame someone? "

Thousand Exposure sites have been documented in the Vancouver-Portland metro area.


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