Home Health Amid measles outbreak, what to do if you're unsure of your immunization status – KATU

Amid measles outbreak, what to do if you're unsure of your immunization status – KATU

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by Joe Douglass, KATU News

The measles outbreak in Clark County continues to grow. Authorities announced Thursday that there are now 25 confirmed cases. That’s two more than there were Wednesday. Clark County Public Health also said there are now 12 suspected cases and no new exposure locations. Health officials said the two new confirmed patients were being monitored and stayed home.

Most of the patients are children.

‘Call your doctor’

Many people receive measles vaccinations when they’re young. But you may not remember whether you had it.

KATU spoke with multiple public health officials as well as professionals at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver and discovered there are a few ways to find out if you’re immunized as well as what to do to help improve your safety.

As people entered PeaceHealth Southwest Thursday they were greeted with a sign.

It said, “Due to the rising number of confirmed measles cases in Clark County, guests under the age of 12 and those that are not vaccinated or are immunocompromised are respectfully asked to leave the facility immediately.”

A hospital spokesman said the sign and others like it went up last week as a precautionary measure since children are more likely to carry the measles and the facility doesn’t have enough staff members to confirm all visitors’ vaccination records.

“It is scary,” Beatris Prado, who lives nearby in Brush Prairie, said regarding the outbreak Thursday afternoon.

She told a KATU reporter her two children had the measles vaccine when they were younger.

When asked if she was immunized, Prado said, “I hope so. Well, I’m pretty sure I am. My situation wasn’t really great as a kid. I just didn’t have one doctor.”

Prado then admitted she didn’t know how to check her immunization status.

We asked Dr. Stephen Kormanyos of PeaceHealth Southwest about what people in Prado’s situation can do. He pointed out measles is an extremely contagious, potentially deadly disease.

“If you’re not sure, ‘call your doctor’ I think is the best advice,” he explained.

And he said the doctor may take a blood test to find out if you’re immunized.

Web pages aimed at helping you track down your immunization records are made available by the governments of Washington and Oregon. But some people still have a tough time tracking them down.

Dr. Kormanyos said there may be other options.

“People can receive an additional measles vaccine usually without safety concerns. But I would definitely talk with your doctor first before making a decision about what to do,” he said. “What we’re seeing, unfortunately, is these infections really going rampant in these unimmunized populations. … The benefit of the vaccine far outweighs any medical risk.”

Oregon Health Authority said Thursday there are currently no confirmed measles cases in Oregon.

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