Posted Feb. 3, 2019
You may have heard about the measles outbreak that started in Clark County, Washington in January 2019, an area about a 7 hour-drive away from Brookings. At this point, in early February, there is also at least one confirmed Oregon case linked to this outbreak. The list of exposure sites in the Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Washington area includes high traffic areas such as the Portland International Airport and Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OSMI). Most Oregonians have been vaccinated against measles and are protected. Anyone who has never been vaccinated is at higher risk of getting measles if they come into contact with someone who is contagious. (Source: Oregon Health Authority)
We encourage you to learn more about what measles is and to understand who is ‘susceptible’ and ways to protect yourself, your student, your family, and community.
Measles, also called rubeola, is a childhood infection caused by a virus. Measles can be serious and even fatal for small children. While death rates have been falling worldwide as more children receive the measles vaccine, the disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year, most under the age of 5. As a result of high vaccination rates in general, measles hasn't been widespread in the United States for more than a decade. The United States averaged about 60 cases of measles a year from 2000 to 2010, but the average number of cases jumped to 205 a year in recent years. Most of these cases originate outside the country and occurred in people who were unvaccinated or who didn't know whether or not they had been vaccinated. (Source: Mayo Clinic)
The signs and symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected. Measles typically begins with high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104° Fahrenheit. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades. (Source CDC).
"Susceptible” means being at risk of contracting a restrictable disease by virtue of being in one or more of the following categories:
(A) Not being complete on the immunizations required by OAR chapter 333, division 50;
(B) Possessing a medical exemption from any of the vaccines required by OAR chapter 333, division 50 due to a specific medical diagnosis based on a specific medical contraindication; or
(C) Possessing a nonmedical exemption for any of the vaccines required by OAR chapter 333, division 50. (Source: Oregon Health Authority)
The following persons are considered immune to measles:
- They were born before 1957
- They have documentation of having had measles, confirmed by laboratory testing
- They are up to date on the measles vaccines (one dose for children 12 months through 3 years old, two doses for children 4 years and older, one dose for most adults born during or after 1957)
- A lab test proves that they are immune
To protect yourself and others: According to the CDC, the best protection against measles is measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. MMR vaccine provides long-lasting protection against all strains of measles. Your child needs two doses of MMR vaccine for best protection. If you are a member of a susceptible group or caretaker of a child who fits the definition, please take extra precautions during this regional outbreak by avoiding public spaces. If you suspect you have measles, please contact your medical provider’s office before going into the office for directions, to prevent exposure of others.
In the Brookings-Harbor School District, the immunization exclusion rates for MMR for students is 6.4% at Kalmiopsis Elementary School; 5.6% at Azalea Middle School; and 2.3% at BHHS.
Local vaccination sites
Curry Community Health
541-813-2535 to schedule an appointment today!
Additional Resources and Information
- Updated List of Exposure Sites - 2019 Washington and Oregon Measles Outbreak
- Oregon Health Authority - 2019 Measles Information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Measles Information
Regional News Stories
- Clark County Measles Outbreak Increases to 47 Confirmed Cases OPB (Feb. 3, 2019)
- Local officials at red alert Medford Mail Tribune (Jan. 29, 2019):
- Bend measles case officially linked to Vancouver-area outbreak Oregonian/Oregon Live (Jan. 30, 2019)
- OMSI added as possible exposure site as measles outbreak reaches 35 Oregonian/OregonLive (Jan. 28, 2019)
- Portland-area county declares emergency over measles outbreak in anti-vaccination ‘hotspot. Washington Post (Jan. 23, 2019)