A measles epidemic is currently spreading in certain areas of Pacific north west, particularly in Washington State, in the United States. Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency in the area
Last year the number of reported measles cases increased by more than 30% worldwide according to a recent report from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Many people have “dropped their guard” when it comes to this illness which is extremely contagious. As a result measles has taken advantage and more outbreaks are occurring in recent years. A few days ago, a state of emergency was declared in Washington State with 31 new cases confirmed since the 1 January 2019. The majority of those affected were children under the age of ten years old. A warning was also declared last Friday in Portland, the centre of Oregon State, where around 20 measles cases have been reported.
“Measles is a very contagious illness which can be fatal for young children,” stated Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, in a statement published last Friday. “Almost all non vaccinated people contract measles if they are exposed to the virus.” Symptoms of this virus don’t tend to appear until one or two weeks after the infection. This is why authorities are worried about new reported cases over the next few days.
Anti-vaccination is a hot point
The start of the epidemic is largely due to the lack of vaccination against this illness. This region, according to the Associated Press, is a hot point for the anti-vaccination movement. So that they can contain this outbreak, health authorities are insistent that more is done to encourage people to be vaccinated and to combat misinformation which is spread online. “Existing strategies must change. “We must redouble our efforts to increase a systematic vaccine coverage and strengthen our health care systems“, declared Seth Berkley the CEO of Gavi, Vaccine Alliance. “Otherwise we will having to combat one epidemic after another.”
The lack of vaccination coverage threatens world health. The WHO has recently noted that the “fear of vaccinations” is one of the ten biggest health problems to watch out for in 2019 as well as the resistance to antibiotics and atmospheric pollution. The organisation believes that vaccinations currently prevents 2 to 3 million deaths per year world wide and believes that a further 1.5 millions lives could be saved if there was a better vaccination coverage worldwide.