The number of measles cases in Washington continues to grow as an outbreak rages.
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On Sunday, Clark County public health officials announced that there have been 34 confirmed cases and nine suspected cases of the disease.
This marks a continued increase in the number of confirmed cases as there were 31 confirmed on Friday when the governor declared an emergency. The day before, there were 25 confirmed cases.
The majority of the infected were children, of whom 24 of the 34 confirmed cases affect children 1
The county health agency shows various places where infected people have visited, possibly exposing others as measles to such an infectious disease.
There are more than 10 health facilities and clinics listed, as well as a dozen schools, several churches, Portland International Airport, Costco, an Ikea, a pho restaurant and the arena where Trail Blazer's basketball team plays.
Immunization status of the infected is a key factor and the county health website noted that the 34 confirmed cases were 30 of these persons not immunized. The immunization status of the remaining four was unverified.
Dr. Alan Melnick, Public Health Director of Clark County, spoke to ABC News on Friday and said he expected the numbers to rise because he saw the most effective preventative measure to be additional vaccinations, which is not something that can bring an immediate end on an ongoing outbreak.
"I think the best thing we can do to prevent the vaccinations from getting higher," Melnick said.
Measles was a fatal disease for children in America before the vaccine became widely used as it was first available in 1963.
Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine advocate and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, said in an interview at ABC News & # 39; "Start Here" podcast that the disease poses a real threat many have forgotten.
"People are often very dismissive of measles, but we forget the fact that it is actually until recently in human history, it has been one of the great killings of children worldwide," Hotez says. "It is one of the most contagious diseases known to humans, so on average if a single person gets measles, 12 to 18 others will also get it."
One of the most important ways in which vaccinations help prevent proliferation – and in many cases the appearance of the disease in so many of the United States today – is due of a tactic called "herd immunity", where entire communities are effectively protected when immunization rates are sufficiently high.
For measles, immunity is achieved when 92 to 95 percent of the population is immune. This protects people who cannot be vaccinated, such as newborn babies and people with severely compromised immune systems.
However, data from Clark County show that their immunization rates are well below the desired levels.
According to the latest county data, 76.5 percent of the county's 5,680 kindergartens had complete vaccinations during the 2017-2018 school year.
Clark County is far from the worst in the state; it has the sixth lowest complete immunization rate. In San Juan County, only 47 percent of kindergartens got their complete immunizations.
"This is a self-disrupted wound," said Hotez about the low vaccination rates in the Pacific Northwest.
This report was presented on Monday, January 28, 2019, episode of ABC Newss daily news podcast, "Start Here."
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