HSE warns of measles outbreak in Donegal

Alicia Farmer
February 8, 2019

1-2 people out of every 1,000 who become infected with measles will die.

Clark County also listed 11 suspected cases of measles.

Measles spreads through direct contact or through the air. It causes a range of symptoms including fever, cough and a rash. Measles infection can have serious complications such as pneumonia, seizures and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Three Multnomah County youths have measles, bringing Oregon's total of measles cases to four.

That helps explain why public health officials get so concerned when outbreaks occur, which they have been with increasing frequency in recent years.

By the end of 2017, the percentage of children in Ukraine who had been vaccinated had significantly improved, to about 90% but, the World Health Organization says, this now needs to be sustained to protect the population from further outbreaks of measles.

There were 72 deaths from measles in Europe in 2018 compared with 42 in 2017. In Washington state, permissive vaccination rules are being blamed for the outbreak.

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The Clark County health department has stressed the dangers of measles, which is an extremely contagious, air-borne viral disease.

Similar outbreaks have been occurring in Europe: In 2017, there were 25,863 cases of measles; previous year, that surged to more than 82,000.

Measles infections in Europe hit a decade high in 2018, despite more children than ever before receiving vaccinations. Concern over the vaccine can be traced back to a 1998 paper by former doctor Andrew Wakefield, who falsely linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism. If people aren't vaccinated, the virus can spread easily.

"Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent measles", Denton County public health director Dr. Matt Richardson said in a written statement.

"This outbreak has put people at real risk", said Ann Thomas, public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority.

The orders represent only state-supplied vaccines requested through the federal Vaccines for Children program, which provides free immunizations to children who otherwise couldn't afford them.

On Wednesday, officials sent letters to families of 5,000 children in Multnomah County, telling them they'll be excluded from school if they don't have up-to-date immunizations or valid exemptions by February 20.

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