CLARK COUNTY, Washington — After six weeks with no new reported cases, public health officials announced Monday the measles outbreak is over in Clark County, Washington.
Clark County Public Health confirmed 71 cases of measles during the outbreak that started in early January. The total doesn’t factor in the Oregon and King County, Washington cases that health officials linked to the Clark County outbreak.
Two cases previously reported in the total were removed because those two people moved to Georgia during the outbreak and are counted in that state's total case numbers.
Lab testing confirmed measles in a child who traveled to the county from Ukraine, public health officials say. But through investigation they could not determine whether that was the source of the outbreak.
One person infected with the measles in Clark County was hospitalized, and the outbreak mainly impacted children and those who were not immunized. Ninety-three percent of cases were in children 1 to 18 years old. Sixty-one cases were in people not immunized.
“We’re grateful to see this outbreak come to an end without any deaths or serious complications,” Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director, said in a press release. “But as long as measles exists elsewhere in the world and people continue travel, we’re at risk of seeing another outbreak. We must improve our immunization rates to prevent future outbreaks and keep our children and other vulnerable people safe.”
Clark County Public Health says they identified 53 public locations where confirmed cases may have exposed others to measles: 13 health care facilities, 15 schools and child care centers, one workplace, and 24 other public places.
Officials say 51 percent of the 71 cases were “most likely contracted within the household,” 25 percent were likely contracted at a general public location (grocery store, retail, or church), and 16 percent at a school or child center. One person was likely exposed during travel abroad. Based on their investigation, officials can’t determine exposure sites for the remaining 7 percent.
The health department activated its incident management teams to respond to the outbreak on Jan. 15 and spent 63 days in incident response, according to the county. Clark County Public Health says the measles outbreak cost them $864,679 in total, with staff costs taking up the largest share.