Measles cases in Washington outbreak climb to 61

From Clark County Public Health

Public Health officials in Clark County, Washington has identified 61 confirmed cases and currently is not investigating any suspect cases. Public Health has identified two new locations where people may have been exposed to measles.

Here are the details of the confirmed cases:

  • Age
    • 1 to 10 years: 44 cases
    • 11 to 18 years: 14 cases
    • 19 to 29 years: one case
    • 30 to 39 years: two cases
  • Immunization status
    • Unimmunized: 54 cases
    • Unverified: five cases
    • 1 MMR vaccine: two cases
  • Hospitalization: one case (none currently)

The confirmed cases include two cases who traveled to Hawaii and another case who traveled to Bend, Ore. The confirmed cases also include two Clark County residents who moved to Georgia. The case totals do not include confirmed cases from King County and Multnomah County, Ore.

Public Health has identified suspect cases that were unimmunized when exposed to measles and received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine more than 72 hours after exposure. To prevent illness, one dose of MMR vaccine must be given to unimmunized people within 72 hours of 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 virus to other people. 

However, in these situations, it is difficult to determine whether the rash is a benign vaccine reaction or measles illness. Specimens for these suspect cases are sent to a specialized laboratory out of state to confirm measles, but it can take more than a week to get the results. 

In those cases, pending lab results, Public Health will treat the suspect cases as we would treat confirmed cases and release information about public locations the cases visited while potentially contagious with measles. Public Health will remove those locations if the cases are ruled out.

On Feb. 12, Public Health removed one previously confirmed case after additional testing revealed the case was actually experiencing benign vaccine rash. 

That case – an unimmunized child 1 to 10 years old – received one dose of measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR. Public Health also removed the exposure locations associated with this case since the vaccine virus cannot be transmitted to others. 

To date, the majority of lab results of confirmed cases have matched a wild strain of virus circulating in Eastern Europe. 

Public Health is not providing any additional information about the two cases with one dose of MMR in order to protect the patients’ privacy.

“The measles vaccine isn’t perfect, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “The recommended two doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection – 97 percent.”

Clark County Public Health is urging anyone who has been exposed 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. P

eople 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.

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

Public Health will update this webpage daily as additional information becomes available. 

Public exposure locations

Some exposure sites have been removed from the list below because the period during which someone could have gotten measles (incubation period) has passed. The list of those locations is available in the Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of this webpage.

People who visited the following locations may have been exposed to measles and may be at risk of contracting the measles:

Health care facilities:

  • Sea Mar Medical Clinic East Vancouver, 19005 SE 34th St., Vancouver from 1:50 to 5:50 pm Tuesday, Feb. 5.
  • The Vancouver Clinic Salmon Creek, 2525 NE 139th St., Vancouver
    • 7 to 10 pm Thursday, Feb. 14
    • 10:30 am to 3:45 pm Friday, Feb. 15

Schools and child care centers:

  • Image Elementary School, 4400 NE 122nd Ave., Vancouver on Monday, Feb. 11; Tuesday, Feb. 12; Wednesday, Feb. 13; Thursday, Feb. 14; and Friday, Feb. 15.
  • Pacific Middle School, 2017 NE 172nd Ave., Vancouver on Monday, Feb. 11; Tuesday, Feb. 12; and Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Public Health is requiring exclusion of students and staff without documented immunity to measles from only those schools identified as possible exposure sites. Students and staff excluded from those identified schools are also excluded from other schools, child care and other congregate settings. Students and staff at schools where measles exposure did not occur are not impacted by exclusions.

Other locations:​

  • none

Additional information

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

For information about measles cases and outbreaks in the U.S., visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Clark County 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.

If you’re 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.

Anyone with questions about measles infection or the measles vaccine should call their primary care provider or their local county health department:

  • Clark County Public Health, 360.397.8021
  • Multnomah County Public Health, 503.988.3406
  • Washington County Public Health, 503.846.3594
  • Clackamas County Public Health, 503.655.8411

Clark County Council Chair Eileen Quiring declared on Friday, Jan. 18 a public health emergency in response to the measles outbreak. On Friday, Jan. 25, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to the measles outbreak in Washington. 

The latest news release about the Clark County measles investigation is available here.

Additional resources

Measles fact sheet – English
Measles fact sheet – Spanish
Measles fact sheet – Ukraine
Measles fact sheet – Russian

Provider advisories