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On Thursday July 10, Washington state health officials issued a statement regarding the highest number of measles cases since 1996. They are urging all residents to receive updated vaccinations against the preventable disease.
Measles is highly contagious, and officials are warning people to not go to doctors offices or emergency rooms if they believe they have contracted the disease, reports The Wichita Eagle. Four cases alone have been tied to a restaurant in Wichita, including one in an unvaccinated infant. People are asked to stay inside their homes and contact their healthcare providers before taking any action.
Less people have been reported to get the vaccine within recent years, and that appears to be one of the reasons that the outbreak has grown, reports Fox News. There have been 27 cases reported so far this year, which is five more than last year, and is also more within the state than the last five years combined.
Measles can spread from person to person both four days before and after a rash appears, and symptoms typically last two weeks after exposure. Some symptoms include: blotchy rash on the skin that spreads easily, cough and runny nose, aches and fatigue, and tiny white spots with bluish-white centers within the mouth.
The best way to avoid getting the disease is through vaccination. Through July 3, over 560 measles cases have been confirmed in 20 different states.