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First measles case confirmed this year in King County resident

First measles case confirmed this year in King County resident
First measles case confirmed this year in King County resident


State public health officials have confirmed the first case of measles this year in a King County resident.

The infected child was at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health's urgent care center in West Seattle on Monday, according to a Friday post from Seattle-King County Public Health. The agency said anyone who was at the facility (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW) between 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. that day could have been exposed to measles.

According to Dr. Eric Chou, the county's infectious disease chief, the child had not received the MMR (measles, rubella and mumps) vaccine and had traveled abroad.

“Although this is the first case, I also think it's important to recognize that exposure to measles can still occur,” Chou said.

If you were at a Franciscan Urgent Care Center at the time, public health officials recommended the following steps:

  • Ask your health care provider if you have been vaccinated against measles or have had measles before.
  • If you develop a fever or rash, contact your doctor. Do not go to a clinic or hospital without informing them first to avoid potentially spreading measles to others. Try to limit contact with other people.
  • Ask your health care provider about vaccinations and medications after exposure.

Measles is highly contagious and spreads mainly when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and can cause symptoms including fever, rash, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, and can lead to ear infections, diarrhea and pneumonia, according to public health officials.

Those most at risk of measles complications are infants and children under 5 years of age, adults over 20 years of age, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems due to medications or underlying illnesses.

The risk to the general public in the region is low because most people have been vaccinated and have acquired immunity, but Chou stressed that a surge in infections in some areas has made it increasingly necessary to double down on MMR vaccination. Around the world Nearly all of the U.S. cases so far have been linked to unvaccinated travelers, according to the New York Times. report March.

Vaccination rates for kindergartners in King County have also declined since the pandemic began, Chow said: 94% of kindergartners were vaccinated in the 2021-2022 school year, but 92% in the 2023-2024 school year.

“People look at these numbers and think, 'Wow, that's really high,'” Chou said. “And they are. And measles is extremely contagious, so we want the numbers to be as high as possible.”

And those general numbers don't reflect low vaccination rates in specific schools, where vaccination rates have fallen as low as 36% in some schools, Chou said.

“Even if the overall vaccination coverage in a community is high, those spaces remain highly vulnerable to measles transmission,” he said.

Luckily, the measles vaccine is highly effective and provides lifelong immunity, Chou says: Two doses of the MMR vaccine are about 97% effective in preventing measles, according to the CDC.

Public Health — Seattle and King County Also identified A new case of measles was reported at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in late May. Public health officials said the infected person, an Arizona resident with an unknown vaccination status, likely contracted the virus while traveling in Europe.

Chou urged travelers to take a moment to think about their potential medical needs when planning trips this summer. Do I need the MMR vaccine? Do I need a COVID vaccination? Do I need malaria medication? He said: Public Health Notice Especially if you're traveling internationally, it will often include details about where you're planning to travel, including recommended vaccinations and potential precautions.

“That's where the risk comes from,” he said.

The report included material from the Seattle Times archives.




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