Woman Dies of Measles in Washington State

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Jul 04, 2015 9:45 AM
Woman Dies of Measles in Washington State

A woman in Washington State has died from the measles, marking the first death from the illness in the United States since 2003.

The woman, whose age and other identifying factors were not disclosed, likely contracted measles while in a health care facility in Clallam County. The woman was immuno-suppressed due to medications she was taking for a different illness, and did not develop the typical rash associated with measles.

From the Washington Post:

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 178 people from 24 states and the District were reported to have measles from Jan. 1 through June 26 of this year. Two-thirds of the cases, the CDC noted, were "part of a large multi-state outbreak linked to an amusement park in California."

This newly confirmed case marks Washington's 11th reported instance of measles this year, and state health officials urged people to vaccinate against the virus.

"This tragic situation illustrates the importance of immunizing as many people as possible to provide a high level of community protection against measles," the state health department's statement read. "People with compromised immune systems often cannot be vaccinated against measles."

This. Is. Why. Vaccination. Is. Important. Herd immunity protects everyone, not just the person who is vaccinated. When a person is not vaccinated, they weaken the herd immunity until it ceases to exist. Herd immunity protects people with weakened immune systems and people whose vaccines did not take. Measles, which once was eradicated from the United States, is on the upswing as people delay or skip vaccinations. This isn't progress.