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Dragonfly September 19th, 2019
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Measles Outbreak in Washington State

Posted by on February 4th, 2019 Posted in: Health Literacy/Consumer Health, Public Health, Public Libraries
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Many of you are aware of the recent measles outbreak in Washington state and so it is of particular concern for the PNR region. The vast majority of these cases are in Clark county,  43 cases have been reported and 32 are children under the age of 10. Of those cases 37 had not been immunized.  According to a recent PLOS article, Seattle, Spokane and Portland are included in the top 15 cities that are considered “hotspots” who have a large number of  vaccine non-medical exemptions.  Washington, Idaho, and Oregon are states that allow a “philosophical belief” exemption when it comes to vaccines.  Whatever the public’s view of immunizations, measles is a very serious health condition and is especially so for those who cannot get vaccinated due to their health as well as pregnant women and babies under the age of 1.

Where to go to provide information to your communities?

The Washington State Department of Health provides information about:

  • the numbers and counties affected
  • an outbreak toolkit for parents and the public
  • template letters for schools to parents as well as their staff
  • information in multiple languages

The CDC provides information for parents about the measles vaccine and about measles.

MedlinePlus includes:

  • an overview about measles
  • information about risk, prevention and symptoms
  • information regarding specific populations
  • information in multiple languages

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a special edition of their NIH News in Health explaining the important role vaccines have in keeping us healthy.

This information can be provided as links on your website, included in social media, and printed for your patrons and consumers to take with them. Bringing awareness with reliable health information can help reduce the spread of this outbreak and is an important step in keeping your communities safe and healthy.

Image of the author ABOUT Carolyn Martin
Carolyn Martin is the Consumer Health Coordinator for the NNLM Pacific Northwest Region. She works with various libraries and community organizations to increase health literacy in their communities.

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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