VANCOUVER, Wash. – Health officials say the number of confirmed cases of measles in western Washington has grown to 34, with nine more cases suspected.
As of Sunday afternoon, no measles cases have been confirmed in Spokane County but people should get vaccinated as soon as possible just in case, Kim Papich, spokeswoman for the Spokane Regional Health District, said.
“It’s getting riskier for our community,” she said.
According to data from the Public Health Department in Clark County, where all but one of the confirmed measles cases occurred, the majority of measles cases involved children under 10.
Officials say 30 of the patients were not vaccinated against the highly contagious disease and in four cases it’s unclear whether the person was vaccinated. One person was hospitalized.
All the cases confirmed were in Clark County, except one man from King County who reported that he had traveled to Vancouver recently where he might have been exposed, according to a King County Public Health report.
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space.
The full vaccine is 97 percent effective and provides immunity for life.
Papich said there has been one suspected case so far in Spokane County, but it was determined to not be measles. She said the district is is aware that some people in the area are unvaccinated, which could increase the likelihood of an outbreak if the disease spreads to the east side of the state.
Reporter Rebecca White contributed to this report
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