An unvaccinated child has measles, according to Clark County Public Health, bringing the outbreak count up to 22.
A Monday update from the health department also says:
- Due to the size of the outbreak, the public health department will send an automated call starting Tuesday to people who have been identified as possibly exposed to measles. Not everyone who may have been exposed will receive the call. The call will come from the Clark County call center at 360-397-8021. Most people will be called at 10:30 a.m. There will be a second round of calls at 1 p.m. for people not reached the first time. The recording will gather information about whether the person who is called has shown symptoms of measles.
- The health department has also added three more locations to where people might have been exposed to measles:
Since Jan. 1, 21 children have been infected with measles — the majority of them younger than 11. One adult also has measles.
Of those, 19 did not receive a vaccine against measles. One person out of the 22 has been hospitalized.
Three people are suspected of having measles, but have not been confirmed yet.
The outbreak has hit religious and private schools in Clark County especially hard. Clark County also has one of the worst vaccination rates among all Washington counties, with just 77.4 percent of all public students having completed their vaccinations, state records show.
The measles vaccine is highly effective. People can get a precautionary measles shot now or even within 72 hours after exposure to the virus and likely be OK.
Clark County health officials are keeping both students and staff who cannot prove they have been vaccinated from the schools linked to the outbreak. Those who are excluded are also not supposed to enter other schools, child care centers or places with lots of people.
Even friends and families of students and staff at Evergreen High School and Orchards, Hearthwood and Image elementary schools are asked not to attend any events or games at the schools unless immunized. The Clark County health department has placed this restriction until Jan. 30 for most schools and Feb. 5 for Orchards.
To further limit the spread of the virus, which is highly contagious and can hang in the air for up to 2 hours in an enclosed space, health officials ask that people who think they might have measles call their doctor or health care provider before physically visiting a hospital or doctor’s office.
— Molly Harbarger