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December 20, 2022
Recently, Columbus Public Health declared a measles outbreak centralized in Columbus, Ohio. As of December 14, 2022, all confirmed cases are reported to be unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or have an unknown vaccination history. All cases have been school-aged children.
Washington (WA) state has not been impacted by this outbreak; however, WA Department of Health (DOH) maintains vigilance for measles. The last two measles outbreaks in Washington State occurred in 2019. There were a total of 87 cases from the two outbreaks – which remains to be the most cases the state has seen since 1990. The last confirmed measles case in WA state occurred in early 2022. This case had international travel and there were no reports of any domestic spread from this case. Since then, there have been no other confirmed measles cases in the state.
The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine continues to be the most effective tool against measles infection. However, recent analyses published by the CDC and by WA DOH indicate a substantial decrease in administered pediatric vaccines, including the MMR vaccine, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this decrease in MMR vaccinations, there may be a larger population susceptible to measles in our communities. With this in mind, we encourage our partners to continue to be on alert for potential measles.