Washington measles outbreak: Gov. Inslee declares public health emergency

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Gov. Jay Inslee declared a public health emergency Friday after the number of confirmed cases of measles in western Washington grew to 30. Health officials say nine more cases are suspected.

Clark County Public Health said Friday that 29 of the cases are in southwest Washington and one confirmed case is in King County.

The majority of the cases involve children younger than 10.

Officials say 26 of the patients were not vaccinated against the highly contagious disease and in four cases it's unclear whether the person was vaccinated.

"The proclamation directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas," according to a news release from the governor's office. "A proclamation is also necessary to utilize the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to request additional medical resources from other states.

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space.

The full vaccine is 97 percent effective and provides immunity for life.

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