Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency today in all counties in response to more than two dozen confirmed cases of measles in the state.
“Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children,” Inslee stated in his proclamation. “The existence of 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.”
The proclamation directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas. A proclamation is also necessary to utilize the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to request additional medical resources from other states.
The Washington State Department of Health has instituted an infectious disease Incident Management Structure to manage the public health aspects of the incident to include investigations, laboratory testing and other efforts to protect communities. Meanwhile, the Washington Military Department is coordinating resources to support DOH and local officials in alleviating the impacts to people, property and infrastructure.
A current statewide case count for the measles outbreak is available on DOH’s website and will be updated daily. As of yesterday, there are 25 confirmed cases in Clark County and one confirmed case in King County.
Measles is easily spread when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. Almost everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed to the measles virus. Because measles is contagious before people realize they are sick, people who are not vaccinated may spread the disease without knowing. DOH urges everyone to check their immunization records to verify they are fully immunized.