Measles outbreak spreads to Texas

AP file

The confirmed case of measles is in a child residing in Western Bell County.

Experts can't say for sure where the next outbreak might be. If adults aren't sure whether they are still immune, another dose of vaccine won't do them any harm and could help prevent infection, he said.

Public health officials have attributed the outbreak to vaccine coverage of less than 50 percent of the population when the outbreak began.

In Clark County, Washington - where about 50 people have been infected since the outbreak started - more than 6 times as many people were vaccinated for measles from January 13 to February 2 compared to the same period previous year, according to a spokesperson for Washington State Department of Health.

It comes as the city of Washington in the United States declared a measles state of emergency, and the measles death toll in south-east Asia continues to rise.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 82,500 people contracted measles in 2018, with two thirds of people hospitalised as a result and 72 people died.

Coverage with the first dose of the vaccine also increased slightly to 95%, the highest level since 2013. It is also easily preventable through vaccination. For example, if one child in a small town had a bad reaction to a vaccine, word would spread around the community and many parents might then seek exemptions for their own children.

Orders for two types of measles vaccines in Clark County were up almost 500 percent in January compared to the same month a year ago, jumping from 530 doses to 3,150, according to state health department figures.

More news: Townsville warned as floodgates open BBC Online

Since the beginning of the year, things have been looking increasingly grim in parts of OR and Washington due to a measles outbreak that has affected dozens of people.

Measles, declared eliminated as a major public health threat in the United States nearly 20 years ago, has re-emerged this winter in the Pacific Northwest and other states where parents have relatively broad leeway over whether to vaccinate their children.

Graham did say the State Health Department has confirmed that every Washington case of measles since the first confirmed case has matched the same wild strain of measles the first case had.

Most of the infections have occurred in children, under age 18, who were unvaccinated. However, it can not make us blind to the people and places that are still being missed.

The rush to receive the MMR vaccine - which inoculates the recipient from measles, mumps and rubella - in Clark County is especially striking because the county has an unusually low vaccination rate.

Both Macartney and MacIyntre agree that Australia's biggest carriers are the pockets of not vaccinated or "under-vaccinated" older children, adolescents and young adults.

Depending on the relevant state and territory health departments, in Australia, there are some governmen-funded catch up vaccination programs for refugees and migrants.

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