The virus travels through the air and can stay up to two hours in the air of a room where a person with measles has been.
Demand for measles vaccines leapt 500 percent last month in Clark County, Washington-a hotbed for anti-vaccine sentiment that has now become the epicenter of a ferocious measles outbreak. Measles can also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or deliver a low-birth weight baby.
Europe had a record number of measles cases past year, in part due to a growing number of pockets where parents are refusing to vaccinate their children, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. Among the confirmed cases, 43 were not immunized against the highly contagious disease.
Measles infection typically causes a rash, fever, conjunctivitis (red eyes), cough or runny nose. Severe complications include pneumonia, which can be fatal, and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), which can lead to convulsions, hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities in children.More news: Minnesota Lynx's Star Maya Moore Is Taking A Break From Basketball
A total of 72 children and adults died in 2018 following infection, the World Health Organization said. Anyone born since 1978 who is unsure if they have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine, such as MMR, should speak with their GP. Measles is highly contagious and early identification remains a critical public health measure to reduce the spread of the disease.
"The measles vaccine isn't flawless, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness", said Dr. Alan Melnick of the Clark County Public Health Department. In Washington state, permissive vaccination rules are being blamed for the outbreak.
The measles outbreak reported in the northwest has made its way to Texas.
While families in Madagascar have difficulty accessing the measles vaccine, outbreaks in Europe and the US are often linked to vaccine hesitancy - the reluctance of parents to vaccinate their children because of unfounded fears about the treatment. The outbreak in Clark County has been concentrated mostly among unvaccinated children.More news: Woody Allen Sues Amazon for almost $70 Million
"I think "patchwork" is a good word to use to describe it", said Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health with Toronto Public Health.
The percentage of children receiving the first dose of the vaccine also increased, to 95%.
Multnomah County officials have reported a steep uptick in vaccinations over this time previous year.More news: 'The Case Against Adnan Syed' Could Be HBO's Next 'The Jinx'