Clark County Public Health confirms 14 measles cases, three suspected

Public Health says thousands may have been exposed at schools, churches, medical offices, businesses

By Wyatt Stayner, Columbian staff writer

A measles outbreak has grown in Clark County to 14 confirmed cases and the potential exposure of thousands of people to the highly contagious virus, according to Clark County Public Health.

Health officials released a statement Wednesday saying that Clark County Public Health is requiring “the exclusion of students and staff without documented immunity to measles from schools, child care and other congregate settings” where exposure is possible.

Public health officials have identified 14 confirmed cases of measles and three suspected cases since Jan. 1, according to the statement. One case has been hospitalized, and another suspected case has been hospitalized.

Of the 14 confirmed cases, 13 of the individuals had not been immunized against measles, according to the statement. Officials have not yet verified whether the remaining individual was immunized.

Twelve of the cases are between the ages of 1 and 10, and two cases are between 11 and 18, which means thousands of people may have been exposed at numerous locations in the metro area, including five schools, as well as medical facilities, churches and businesses, according to Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick.

Measles presents the biggest risk to those who have not been vaccinated, including infants younger than 12 months. You are likely immune to measles if you were born before 1957, have had measles before or are up to date on vaccinations (one dose for children 12 months through 3 years old, two doses in anyone 4 years and older).

Illness can develop in about one to three weeks after exposure. Symptoms begin with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, followed by a rash that usually begins at the head and spreads over the body.

Common complications of measles include ear infection, lung infection and diarrhea. Swelling of the brain is a rare but much more serious complication. Measles may also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby. For every 1,000 children with measles, one or two will die from the disease.

Anyone who has questions about public exposures should call 360-397-8021, a call center dedicated to the outbreak. The call center hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including weekends.

It’s unclear whether these cases are connected, according to Public Health. The investigation is ongoing, and health officials will provide updates as more information is available.

Public Health has created a webpage dedicated to the measles investigation that contains the latest information, as well as answers to frequently asked questions: www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/measles-investigation.

The last time measles was confirmed in Clark County was in 2011. That year, three measles cases were confirmed. The first case of measles was diagnosed after someone traveled overseas and then returned to Clark County, said Marissa Armstrong, Clark County Public Health information officer. The other two cases were separate from the first, but linked to each other.

There was also a measles case in July that Clark County Public Health felt comfortable confirming based off of the evidence of the case. There was no lab test done because the family declined the test, however. Armstrong said the lack of test confirmation means the state will not conclusively confirm that case. The state and county have different confirmation guidelines.

Melnick said this is the largest outbreak during his 13 years with Clark County Public Health. In 1996, Clark County had 33 confirmed cases during an outbreak, according to The Columbian archives. That started with one case identified on April 22, and continued until early July.

Those 33 Clark County cases were part of a statewide outbreak, and made up more than three-fourths of all cases in the state during that outbreak. The health department gave more than 2,500 vaccinations to students, teachers and staff members at Clark College, five public schools and six preschool programs.

Melnick once again stressed the importance of getting vaccinated. Vaccination stats can be explored at: doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/HealthBehaviors/Immunization/SchoolReports/DataTables.

“It’s safe. It’s effective,” Melnick said. “People should get vaccinated.”

Health officials released a statement Wednesday saying that Clark County Public Health is requiring “the exclusion of students and staff without documented immunity to measles from schools, child care and other congregate settings” where exposure is possible.

Public health officials have identified 14 confirmed cases of measles and three suspected cases since Jan. 1, according to the statement. One case has been hospitalized, and another suspected case has been hospitalized.

Of the 14 confirmed cases, 13 of the individuals had not been immunized against measles, according to the statement. Officials have not yet verified whether the remaining individual was immunized.

Twelve of the cases are between the ages of 1 and 10, and two cases are between 11 and 18, which means thousands of people may have been exposed at numerous locations in the metro area, including five schools, as well as medical facilities, churches and businesses, according to Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick.

Measles presents the biggest risk to those who have not been vaccinated, including infants younger than 12 months. You are likely immune to measles if you were born before 1957, have had measles before or are up to date on vaccinations (one dose for children 12 months through 3 years old, two doses in anyone 4 years and older).

Illness can develop in about one to three weeks after exposure. Symptoms begin with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, followed by a rash that usually begins at the head and spreads over the body.

Common complications of measles include ear infection, lung infection and diarrhea. Swelling of the brain is a rare but much more serious complication. Measles may also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby. For every 1,000 children with measles, one or two will die from the disease.

Anyone who has questions about public exposures should call 360-397-8021, a call center dedicated to the outbreak. The call center hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including weekends.

It’s unclear whether these cases are connected, according to Public Health. The investigation is ongoing, and health officials will provide updates as more information is available.

Public Health has created a webpage dedicated to the measles investigation that contains the latest information, as well as answers to frequently asked questions: www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/measles-investigation.

The last time measles was confirmed in Clark County was in 2011. That year, three measles cases were confirmed. The first case of measles was diagnosed after someone traveled overseas and then returned to Clark County, said Marissa Armstrong, Clark County Public Health information officer. The other two cases were separate from the first, but linked to each other.

There was also a measles case in July that Clark County Public Health felt comfortable confirming based off of the evidence of the case. There was no lab test done because the family declined the test, however. Armstrong said the lack of test confirmation means the state will not conclusively confirm that case. The state and county have different confirmation guidelines.

Melnick said this is the largest outbreak during his 13 years with Clark County Public Health. In 1996, Clark County had 33 confirmed cases during an outbreak, according to The Columbian archives. That started with one case identified on April 22, and continued until early July.

Those 33 Clark County cases were part of a statewide outbreak, and made up more than three-fourths of all cases in the state during that outbreak. The health department gave more than 2,500 vaccinations to students, teachers and staff members at Clark College, five public schools and six preschool programs.

EXPOSURE SITES

Public health released this following list of locations where people may have been exposed to measles:

Health care facilities:

Magnolia Family Clinic, 2207 N.E. Broadway, Suite 200, Portland from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 8.

The Vancouver Clinic, 700 N.E. 87th Ave., Vancouver. 3:30 to 7 p.m.  Jan. 11. 10:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 12. 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 13. 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 14.

Kaiser Cascade Park, 12607 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver from 1 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 12.

Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Emergency Department, 2801 N. Gantenbein Ave., Portland from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 12.

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center Emergency Department, 400 N.E. Mother Joseph Place, Vancouver. 10 p.m. Jan. 12 to 4 a.m. Jan. 13. 12:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 13.

Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center Emergency Department, 2211 N.E. 139th St., Vancouver. 8:30 p.m. Jan. 12 to 1 a.m. Jan. 13. 5:45 p.m. Jan. 13 and 12:30 a.m. Jan. 14.

Schools:

Cornerstone Christian Academy, 10818 N.E. 117th Ave., Vancouver on Jan. 4

Vancouver Home Connection, 301 S. Lieser Road, Vancouver on Jan. 7; Jan. 8; and Jan. 11.

Hearthwood Elementary School, 801 N.E. Hearthwood Blvd., Vancouver on Jan. 7; Jan. 8; and Jan. 9.

Image Elementary School, 4400 N.E. 122nd Ave., Vancouver on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9.

Eisenhower Elementary School, 9201 N.W. Ninth Ave., Vancouver on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9.

Other locations:

Church of Christ Savior, 3612 F St., Vancouver from 9:30 a.m. to noon Jan. 6 and 6 to 11:30 p.m. Jan. 6.

Church of Truth, 7250 N.E. 41st St., Vancouver from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 6.

Portland International Airport, 7000 N.E. Airport Way, Portland from 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Jan. 7. More specifically, anyone who spent time in Concourse D and the Delta Sky Lounge during that time period.

Costco, 4849 N.E. 138th Ave., Portland from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 8.

Amazon Lockers, 1131 S.W. Jefferson St., Portland from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 10.

Rejuvenation, 1100 S.E. Grand Ave. Portland from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10.

Pho Green Papaya, 13215 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Jan. 10.

Chuck’s Produce, 13215 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver from 8 to 11:45 p.m. Jan. 10 and 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.  Jan. 11.

Ikea, 10280 N.E. Cascades Parkway, Portland from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 11.

UPDATE: Clark County Public Health updated their information at 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17. The county now has 16 confirmed cases and five suspected cases of measles.

New locations of possible infection have been added. Those include:

  • Rose Urgent Care and Family Practice, 18 N.W. 20th Ave., Battle Ground, from 3:45 to 8 p.m., Monday, Jan. 14
  • Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center Emergency Department, 2211 N.E. 139th St., Vancouver, from 11:40 p.m., Monday, Jan. 14 to 5:10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15
  • Tukes Valley primary and middle schools, 20601 N.E. 167th Ave., Battle Ground, on Tuesday, Jan. 8.
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