During the month of August, two cases of measles were reported in the Portland-metro area. Officials are now warning anyone who was in the area to watch out for any symptoms of the disease. Measles often starts with a cough, fever, runny nose and red eyes followed by a rash that starts out on the face and then later spreads to the rest of the body.
Health officials are telling anyone who thinks they may be infected with the disease to call their primary doctor or their county health department before rushing to the doctor’s office and potentially contaminating someone else. Those who have been infected with the disease will begin showing symptoms within the next two weeks.
The virus was brought into Portland by a visitor, who then spent a lot of time with the second person with the illness. While those who have been vaccinated against measles have a low chance of catching the disease, anyone who wasn’t vaccinated and spent time in the same locations as the infected persons has a high probability of becoming sick.
This isn’t the first case of measles reported in the United States this summer, and Europe is currently experiencing a rise in the cases of measles this year as well. In 2016, only 5,273 cases were reported. This year, more than 41,000 cases were reported in only the first half of the year, and 37 people have already died from the disease.
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world and can be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. A vaccine exists that prevents the disease, but there needs to be a 95 percent vaccination rate for it to work. The vaccine has a 97 percent rate of success in preventing measles. Most people who become ill with the disease do recover, but it’s one of the leading causes of death for young children.
With the movement of parents opposing vaccinations for their children, preventable diseases like measles are once again being spread. Especially in Europe, many people are skeptical about the safety of vaccines. In an attempt to stop these preventable diseases from occurring, Italy and Romania have both passed bills requiring parents to get certain vaccines for their children.