53 confirmed cases in Clark County. Measles has not been this big of a problem in Washington state since the early 2000s, and it may not be over yet.
The measles is a very contagious virus that is spread through the air from actions like coughing or sneezing. It is contracted without even being near a person because it can linger in the air for up to two hours where the measles has been, which in this case, it can easily be transmitted at schools, especially if students don’t have a vaccine.
“I can’t believe that there have been so many cases of measles, in this small amount of time, especially close to this town,” states Emma Pershing, a freshman at Camas High School.
While the measles virus is confirmed throughout Clark County, it has not yet hit Camas High School. There are some students at CHS who are unvaccinated, and anytime that is the case, the risk is higher. Of course, any time an infectious virus turns up in a community, it is a health issue for everyone. “Certainly that’s a concern. That’s a reality,” claims CHS preschool nurse, Joan Haugaard. “Don’t share food and drink, wash your hands, and cover your cough”.
As much as these tips can help prevent students and staff from getting sick, “You need to stay home when you’re not feeling well. All of us need to listen to that,” Haugaard explains.
The measles is also very easily spread to young children and can be fatal. Before the measles vaccine became available, it was one of the most common childhood diseases. The measle vaccine is given to people at a very young age. The first dose of the vaccine should be around 12-15 months of age, and the second one around four to six years of age, those are the two doses of MMR vaccine that children should get. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, also rubella, which can all be a problem for young children and sometimes adults. To this day the virus kills 100,000 people, mostly children worldwide.
Washington state’s Clark County public health website gives information on what the Camas School District would do if an outbreak of measles occurred at CHS. “Public Health is requiring exclusion of students and staff without documented immunity to measles from only those schools identified as possible exposure sites,” Clark County Public Health claims. This means staff members have had to provide documentation of immunity to measles. If a staff member can not show that immunity and the District does have a reported case, those staff members would have to stay home unpaid for 21 days.
All in all, everyone should stay home if they experience any symptoms of the measles and notify the school if they do have symptoms. It is important to keep this disease contained.