Inslee declares state of emergency over measles outbreak

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Inslee declares state of emergency over measles outbreak

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee delivers his 2019 State of the State address on Jan. 15. Inslee declared a state of emergency on Jan. 25.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee delivers his 2019 State of the State address on Jan. 15. Inslee declared a state of emergency on Jan. 25.

Washington State Office of the Governor

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee delivers his 2019 State of the State address on Jan. 15. Inslee declared a state of emergency on Jan. 25.

Washington State Office of the Governor

Washington State Office of the Governor

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee delivers his 2019 State of the State address on Jan. 15. Inslee declared a state of emergency on Jan. 25.

By Kendall Koch, Reporter

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Washington state Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Jan. 28 due to the major increase of measles cases in a matter of a few weeks.

The number of cases as of Feb. 7 in Washington is 55, according to NPR.

The measles outbreak in southwestern Washington is not currently under control”

While most of the cases are confirmed on the west side of Washington and Oregon, Eastern Washington residents are waiting for any possible outbreak to happen.

EWU has yet to receive any warning about the possibility of the outbreak, but other schools are taking precaution. At Central Washington University, for example, students received a warning from the school’s president about measles in an email.

 

Morgan Bedrad, a senior at CWU, said in a phone interview she does not feel threatened but disappointed.

“I don’t feel too much in danger because I am vaccinated, but I feel disappointed and worried for the people who think it is okay to not vaccinate their kids,” Bedrad said. “People who don’t vaccinate their kids don’t know what it’s like to not be vaccinated and that’s part of what makes them think it’s okay.”

Not only are Washington and Oregon residents experiencing the measles outbreak, Hawaii was also exposed due to travelers.

According to The Washington Post, two children from Vancouver who were unvaccinated but not yet contagious, traveled to Hawaii and were immediately quarantined. The families were required to stay on the island until proof of immunizations were provided to Hawaii health officials.

Russell Nagamine, an EWU junior from Maui, said he notices a pattern.

“It’s a repeat of history that happened during the colonization era of Hawaii,” Nagamine said. “Hawaii had an epidemic of diseases brought over from colonizers and it decimated the population. This is caused by people that don’t vaccinate their kids and are just bringing back an epidemic that should’ve been cured in the 1800s.”

As reported in The Easterner on Jan. 23, EWU is the only four-year public university in the state of Washington to not require its students to be vaccinated while on campus. Currently, Tricia Hughes, the Health and Wellness Center’s director, is working to change that policy.

Hawaii had an epidemic of diseases brought over from colonizers and it decimated the population. This is caused by people that don’t vaccinate their kids and are just bringing back an epidemic that should’ve been cured in the 1800s.”

— Russell Nagamine, EWU junior from Maui

The Health Education Coordinator for the Health and Wellness Center, Laura Gant, said that the policy will go up for a vote in the following month.

“The proposed immunization policy will go before the EWU Board of Trustees for its second reading next week and final passage would not occur until the April BOT meeting, and wouldn’t likely be effective until next academic year in the fall,” Gant said in an email to The Easterner.

However, Gant advises students to check their records and health.

“The measles outbreak in southwestern Washington is not currently under control,” Gant said. “It is a good idea to check your immunization status for measles and make sure you are current on the MMR, The recommendation is two doses of MMR vaccine. If you cannot find record of your immunization, you can contact the health care provider who gave you the vaccinations or look to see (if) your state has an immunization registry. As a current student, if you think you have been immunized, but cannot find a record, you can get an MMR titer at any MultiCare Rockwood for $8 to check for immunity. Current students taking at least 6 credits can also get their MMR at no additional cost at any MultiCare Rockwood as part of your comprehensive health and wellness fee.”

Symptoms of measles occur seven to 10 days after being exposed and can cause after-effects including seizures, pneumonia, swelling of the brain and death. The Easterner will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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