A vaccinated nurse in Seattle contracted the measles after caring for an infected child at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Seattle Children’s Hospital shared the news on its website along with details about how the nurse contracted the virus. The nurse is the tenth documented case of measles in King County, Washington since the virus began spreading in June.
According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, a nurse contracted the measles virus earlier this month. At the beginning of July, the nurse cared for a patient diagnosed with the measles. The patient was being treated in isolation in the intensive care unit. While she helped the patient, the hospital says the nurse wore all the appropriate protective equipment. Additionally, the hospital said that the nurse had been vaccinated for the measles.
Despite her vaccination status, the nurse developed the virus. According to the CDC, the measles vaccine is 97% effective in preventing the virus. Vaccinated individuals that contract the virus typically develop a more mild form of the illness. The measles is so contagious that 90% of people exposed to it will develop the virus if they are not vaccinated.
Unfortunately, the nurse did not realize she was contagious and worked two-night shifts following her exposure. As a result, Seattle Children’s Hospital is notifying all patients that the nurse treated during those shifts.
According to the King County Health Department, there have been eleven cases of the measles in Seattle this year. In the month of July, the county reports that three people have contracted the virus including the nurse.
For the past year, the United States has been in the midst of the largest outbreak of measles since the virus was eradicated in 2000. The CDC reports that 1,123 cases of measles have been reported this year. The majority of the cases are related to two outbreaks in the state of New York.
Washington state has had multiple outbreaks this year. Earlier in the year, 71 people contracted the measles in Clark County Washington. The CDC reports that 85 total cases of measles in Washington. In 2019, 28 states have reported cases of the measles. To date, there are only three outbreaks in the United States.After a rough year, the new cases of measles are slowing down. Last week the United States added only 14 total cases. Outbreaks in New York contributed to the bulk of the cases in the country. However, New York State passed a law removing religious exemptions for vaccines. Additionally, New York City imposed fines on parents that refused to vaccinate their children. The efforts taken by New York have nearly ended the outbreak that has been on-going since September 2018.
In order to prevent new cases, the CDC is encouraging all travelers to receive measles vaccinations if they visit areas with active outbreaks. The biggest threat to the United States are active outbreaks in multiple countries in Europe, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
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