January 15, 2019

Clark County Public Health is investigating confirmed cases of measles and 11 suspected cases, all of them children. These are in addition to one confirmed measles case Clark County Public Health announced Jan. 4. This is unrelated to a case of an individual with measles in Oregon reported on Jan. 2.

The two new confirmed cases are among unvaccinated children. Most people have been vaccinated against measles and their risk is low. Risk may be higher for unvaccinated persons, who may have been exposed at one of these locations:

  • Church of Truth, 7250 NE 41st St., Vancouver from 11 am to 4:30 pm Sunday, Jan. 6.
  • Portland International Airport, 7000 NE Airport Way, Portland from 10:45 am to 3:45 pm on Monday, Jan. 7. More specifically, anyone who spent time in Concourse D and the Delta Sky Lounge during that time period.

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.

At this time, it’s unclear whether these two new cases are connected to the case Public Health announced earlier this month. It’s also unclear whether the two confirmed cases are linked to 11 suspected cases.

This is an ongoing outbreak investigation. Public Health will provide updates as additional information becomes 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.

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, 564.397.8182
  • Multnomah County Public Health, 503.988.3406
  • Washington County Public Health, 503.846.3594
  • Clackamas County Public Health, 503.655.8411

About Measles

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially serious illness caused by a virus. It is spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes. A person with measles can spread the virus before they show symptoms. The virus also can linger in the air after someone who is infectious has left.

Immunization is the best protection against measles. One dose of the measles vaccine is about 93 percent effective at preventing measles. Two doses are about 97 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Measles poses the highest risk to people who have not been vaccinated, including infants younger than 12 months. Persons are likely immune (not susceptible) to measles if any of the following apply:

  • They were born before 1957.
  • They are certain they have had measles.
  • They are up to date on measles vaccines (one dose for children 12 months through 3 years old, two doses in anyone 4 years and older).

After someone is exposed, illness develops in about one to three weeks. Measles symptoms begin with a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that usually begins at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. People are contagious with measles for four days before the rash appears and up to four days after the rash appears.

Measles can be serious in all age groups. However, children younger than 5 years and adults older than 20 years are more likely to suffer from measles complications. 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 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.

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