Measles outbreak grows in northwest US, 30 cases reported

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The number of confirmed measles cases near Portland grew to 30 today - an outbreak boosted by lower-than-normal vaccination rates in what's been identified as an anti-vaccination U.S. "hot spot."

Public health officials in southwest Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Ore., said people may have been exposed to the dangerous disease at more than three dozen locations, including Portland International Airport, a Portland Trail Blazers game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea.

Twenty-six of the confirmed patients had not been vaccinated against measles and the vaccination status of four others who were infected is unknown. One person has been hospitalized. Authorities say nine additional cases are suspected.

Most of the cases involved children younger than 10, the Clark County Public Health Department said in a statement. One adult is infected and the rest are teenagers.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, declared a statewide public health emergency for his state today and authorities in neighboring Oregon and Idaho have issued warnings to residents.

Inslee said the number of cases "creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties."

Clark County, which includes the Portland bedroom community of Vancouver, Washington, has a measles vaccination rate of 78 percent, well below the 92 to 94 percent rate required for so-called "herd immunity," said Marissa Armstrong, the department's spokeswoman.

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