Health officials in Washington have declared a state of emergency and are urging immunization as they scramble to contain a measles outbreak in two counties, while the number of cases of the potentially deadly virus continues to climb in a region with lower-than-normal vaccination rates.
Washington Department of Health officials announced that as of Monday afternoon, there have been 36 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases of the disease. That is a significant increase from the reported numbers on Friday, when Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency. At the time, there were 26 confirmed measles cases.
In Friday’s statement, Inslee said, “The measles virus is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children, and the existence of 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.”
Since then, 10 new cases have been confirmed, nine in Clark County, which borders Portland, Ore., creating concern in that state as well.