Two Children Infected With Measles In Portland Area

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Portland and Clark County are starting the new year with two cases of the measles.

One child on both sides of the Columbia River have been infected with the highly contagious disease, health officials announced Friday in separate news releases. There does not appear to be any connection between the two cases. Officials said investigators are working to limit exposure by tracking down others who may have been around the children.

The cases were both confirmed on Thursday.

Health officials said there’s no risk to the general public but those directly exposed could be at risk if they’ve not been immunized. Measles is spread through airborne droplets which can remain infectious in the environment for two hours. It can be serious, killing up to three people per 1,000.

“Given how contagious it is we take it very, very, very seriously,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer.

There was one other case in Clark County last year. That child was presumed to have been infected by a Multnomah County case.  Oregon tallied five cases of measles through November last year.

The news releases indicated that potentially more people in Oregon may have been exposed than in Clark County. In Vancouver, the potential area of exposure appears to be limited to the clinic and waiting area at PeaceHealth Urgent Care – Memorial, at 3400 Main St., from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 31. That includes a half an hour before the child arrived and two hours after, Melnick said.

In Oregon, the child visited several places in The Dalles and Hood River at the end of the year and then was taken to the ER at Oregon Health & Science University on Jan. 2. The child was at the following places:

  • The Discovery Center, The Dalles, Dec. 29, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Fred Meyer, The Dalles, Dec. 31, 5-6 p.m.
  • Doppio Café, Hood River, Dec. 30, noon to 1 p.m.
  • Goodwill, Hood River, Dec. 30, noon to 1 p.m.
  • Full Sail Brewery, Hood River, Dec. 30, 1-2 p.m.
  • OHSU Emergency Department, Portland, Jan. 2, 9 a.m. to noon.

Symptoms, which include a runny nose, fatigue and a rash, usually develop about two weeks after exposure. Anyone who has symptoms should contact their health care provider or clinic first to figure out a plan to limit exposure to others.

The disease poses the highest risk to infants, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. The vaccine is highly effective, and those born before 1957 are considered immunized because measles was common then. The vaccine has largely eradicated it in the United States, though the disease is still rampant in developing countries. Clark County officials said the child was exposed abroad.

Health officials did not release any information about the exposure of the Oregon child. It’s not known whether either child was vaccinated.

You can reach Lynne Terry at [email protected].


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