Public health emergency declared over measles outbreak

AP

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VANCOUVER, Wash. — Clark County declared a public health emergency over a growing measles outbreak following news that a person contagious with measles attended a recent Portland Trail Blazers game.

Clark County Council Chairwoman Eileen Quiring declared the public health emergency Friday to ensure Clark County Public Health has proper resources to continue its response, and so the department has access to additional resources outside the area, according to a Clark County news release.

“We’re in a race against the virus,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, director of Clark County Public Health.

In the latest measles update from Public Health, the department warned that anyone who was at the Moda Center for a Portland Trail Blazers game from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.

That game — a win against the Charlotte Hornets — was nearly sold out, with 19,393 people attending, according to ESPN.

Other people in the building might have been exposed.

Clark County Public Health has now confirmed 19 measles cases since Jan. 1 in its ongoing outbreak investigation, along with seven suspected cases.

The latest update also includes one confirmed measles case in an adult — the first adult case in the outbreak, according to a Public Health news release. The adult is between the ages of 19 to 29.

There are 15 confirmed cases among ages 1 to 10, and three cases among ages 11 to 18. Sixteen cases are unimmunized and three are unverified, according to Public Health.

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

Kaiser Cascade Park Medical Office, 12607 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver from 7 p.m. Jan. 15 to 2 a.m. Jan. 16.

Fisher Investments, 5525 N.W. Fisher Creek Drive, Camas, from 6:20 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 10, 11, 14 and 15.

Moda Center (Trail Blazers game), 1 N Center Court St., Portland, from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Jan. 11.

Church of Christ the Savior, 12 F St., Vancouver, from 9:10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 13.

Verizon Wireless at Cascade Station, 10103 N.E. Cascades Parkway, Portland from 5 to 11 p.m. Jan. 14.

Public Health also made a correction to one exposure date at Vancouver Home Connection. Here are the corrected exposure dates:

Vancouver Home Connection, 301 S. Lieser Road, Vancouver, on Jan. 7; Jan. 9 (This is a corrected date.); and Friday, Jan. 11.

Melnick said getting sick people to stay home is key to quelling the outbreak. He urged those who are ill or have measles-like symptoms to call medical providers before visiting medical centers in person.

He also urged those same people to restrict their entertainment choices for the time being.

“If you have symptoms and you’re ill, don’t go to a basketball game,” Melnick said. “Don’t go to the movies. Don’t go to work.”

While Melnick noted the exposure possibilities at a Blazer game are large, he did mention that hospitals, grocery stores and other locations can also have large groups of visitors.

Since measles is highly contagious, Melnick said any public location can be a dangerous spreading ground, and they all need to be taken seriously.

Hundreds of students have been held out of school because of the outbreak. Clark County Public Health is requiring exclusion of students and staff without documented immunity to measles from seven schools.

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