BEND, OR -- Local health officials continue to keep a close eye on the Measles outbreak traced to Clark County, Washington, just north of Portland. The number of confirmed cases is now up to 53.
One of those patients visited Bend while contagious but before testing positive. Deschutes County Immunization Coordinator Jill Johnson says exposures at Juniper Swim and Fitness and Mountain Air trampoline park did not result in any new cases. And, she says if someone was going to get sick, they would have shown symptoms by now, "We were monitoring people that were at those locations and unvaccinated. And then, on February 10th was the 21 days, so now we’re in the clear as far as those exposures." But, she tells KBND News the region shouldn't let down its guard, "We have a good-sized outbreak going on, not that far from us and we’re just a car-ride away. So, we need to make sure to remain vigilant that our vaccination rate is high enough in our community to keep Measles at bay."
She says some in Central Oregon wrongly claimed there were new cases of Measles here, and that isn't the only rumor the County Health Department is fighting, "There’s a lot of misinformation on social media and the internet around vaccines," says Johnson, "And it’s important that people be sure that they’re looking at reliable sources of information." A local mom says that misinformation is dangerous. Sally lives just east of Bend. Her son, now in his 50s, was born before the vaccine was available. "My son was just a little toddler, baby, when he had them; and he had fevers of 104, 105, 106. He suffered for two weeks, severely." She says he’s still dealing with the repercussions, "He’s lived his life with brain damage and when young people – young mommies – don’t get their children vaccinated, my heart hurts for those babies, because they too could be like my son."
The CDC declared Measles eradicated in the U.S. in 2000. The agency reports the vast majority of people who get the disease now, are unvaccinated. Of the 53 people linked to the Clark County outbreak, 47 were unvaccinated; the immunization status of five others could not be confirmed.