Most of the 34 patients are under 10 years old, and almost all have been confirmed as unvaccinated against the virus.
Article written by: Catherine Offord, January 28, 2019
The number of confirmed measles cases in southwest Washington state has grown to 34, with at least 30 of the patients not having been vaccinated against the virus, the Associated Press reports today (January 28). The outbreak, which started at the end of December and prompted Washington’s governor to declare a public health emergency earlier this month, has drawn further attention to the dangerous consequences of vaccination exemptions.
The majority of the infections are in children younger than 10 years old. A further nine cases of measles are suspected, the AP reports.
While almost all states allow exemptions from their vaccination legislation on religious grounds, Washington state is one of 18 states that also allow exemptions on the grounds of personal or moral beliefs.
In Clark County, the area that’s been worst affected in the current outbreak, 7.9 percent of children entering kindergarten were exempted from vaccination as of the 2017–2018 school year, The Washington Post reports. The overall measles vaccination rate in the county, according to the AP, is just 78 percent—far short of the more than 92 percent recommended to provide immunity for the community.