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News Release
Clark County measles case count up to 50 confirmed, 11 suspect - 02/06/19

Media availability: Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer, will be available for in-person media interviews 3:30 to 4:30 pm today, Feb. 6 at the Clark County Center for Community Health, 1601 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., Building 17. Media can meet in the fourth-floor lobby.

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Public Health is continuing its measles outbreak investigation. Since Jan. 1, we have identified 50 confirmed cases and 11 suspect cases. Public Health has also identified several new locations where people may have been exposed to measles.

Here are the details of the confirmed cases:

  • Age
    • 1 to 10 years: 35 cases
    • 11 to 18 years: 13 cases
    • 19 to 29 years: one case
    • 30 to 39 years: one case
  • Immunization status
    • Unimmunized: 43 cases
    • Unverified: six cases
    • 1 MMR vaccine: one case
  • Hospitalization: one case (none currently)

Public Health is not providing any additional information about the one case with one dose of MMR in order to protect the patient’s privacy.

Three of the 11 suspect cases were unimmunized when exposed to measles. To prevent illness, one dose of measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine must be given to unimmunized people within 72 hours of exposure. Unfortunately, these three suspect cases received the vaccine more than 72 hours after exposure.

About 5 percent of previously unvaccinated people will develop a rash after being immunized. When administered after 72 hours, the vaccine is less likely to prevent illness, and if the person develops a rash, there is a small chance that the rash is due to the vaccine. People who experience these mild vaccine-associated rashes cannot transmit the vaccine virus to other people. 

However, in these situations, it is difficult to determine whether the rash is a benign vaccine reaction or measles illness. For these three suspect cases, specimens are being sent to a specialized laboratory out of state to confirm measles, but it can take more than a week to get the results. Until lab results are available, and in order to protect those who may have been exposed, Public Health is treating these suspect cases as we would treat confirmed cases and releasing information about public locations they visited while potentially contagious with measles.

To date, all lab results of confirmed cases have matched a wild strain of virus, preventable through vaccination, circulating in Eastern Europe. The vaccine strain of measles has never been transmitted person to person.

Here are the new locations where people may have been exposed to measles:

Health care facilities:

  • The Vancouver Clinic Salmon Creek, 2525 NE 139th St. Suite 110, Vancouver from 8 to 11:45 am Wednesday, Jan. 30
  • Sea Mar Medical Clinic Salmon Creek, 14508 NE 20th Ave., Vancouver
    •  8:45 am to 1:15 pm Friday, Feb. 1
    • 11:30 am to 2:15 pm Monday, Feb. 4
  • Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center Emergency Department, 2211 NE 139th St., Vancouver from 11 am to 5 pm Saturday, Feb. 2

Clark County Public Health is urging anyone who has been exposed at an identified location and believes they have symptoms of measles to call their health care provider prior to visiting the medical office to make a plan that avoids exposing others in the waiting room. People who believe they have symptoms of measles should not go directly to medical offices, urgent care centers or emergency departments (unless experiencing a medical emergency) without calling in advance.

For a complete list of exposure sites, visit the Public Health measles investigation webpage.

Additional resources

For information about additional exposure sites in Oregon, linked to the confirmed case in Multnomah County, visit the Oregon Health Authority measles webpage. For information about other measles cases in Washington, visit the Washington State Department of Health measles webpage.

Public Health has established a call center for questions related to the investigation. Anyone who has questions about public exposures should call 360.397.8021. The call center is open daily.

Anyone with questions about their measles immunity or the measles vaccine should contact their primary care provider. Clark County Public Health does not provide immunizations or testing for immunity.

If you are unsure of your family's immunization status, you can view, download and print your family's immunization information online at MyIR or request a copy of your immunization record from the Washington State Department of Health.

View more news releases from Clark Co. WA Communications.