This year has seen 11 measles cases in Washington, six of them in Clallam County where the woman died.
The Washington State Department of Health confirmed Thursday that the death of an unnamed woman earlier this year was due to an undetected measles infection that was only discovered after her autopsy.
The controversial proposal, arising partly from concerns over this year’s Disneyland outbreak, would allow medical exemptions deemed appropriate by the state Department of Public Health. It was a separate strain, they said.
“The woman had several other health conditions and was on medications that contributed to a suppressed immune system”, it added. “People with compromised immune systems often can not be vaccinated against measles”. Measles is a highly contagious sickness that spreads when the person infected breathes, sneezes or coughs. However, dying from the illness is extremely rare, Moyer said. No deaths resulted from that outbreak.
Five outbreaks have occurred so far in 2015, totaling nearly 200 cases.
Finally, many doctors today haven’t seen a case of measles, so they are less familiar with the disease, particularly in adults, Adalja said.
“We really rely on people who can be vaccinated to protect those for whom vaccine protection isn’t available”, such as the woman with a depressed immune system, she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
He also pointed to a 4-year-old patient in hospice care in Los Altos, California, who he said was suffering complications from a measles infection contracted when the child was 5 months old and too young to be immunized. The woman was likely exposed during a recent outbreak in the state, they say.
In 1912 about 6,000 measles-related deaths were reported.
Be proactive – Use the “Flag as Inappropriate” link at the upper right corner of each comment to let us know of abusive posts. Any one case of measles can infect on average 18 other unvaccinated/unprotected people; the equivalent number for HIV is 4, and for Ebola is 2. Drugs such as those also suppress immune protection to measles from vaccination or from having had the disease. Those in the USA who remain opposed to vaccinations include some religious communities, families practicing alternative medicine and libertarians who shun government interference.
The last active case of measles in Washington was reported in late April. Within about three weeks of exposure to someone with measles, it’s possible to develop the disease.
It stressed that no one who had contact with any of the known cases remains at risk.