January 9, 2024

Child's belly with measles rashClark County Public Health in Vancouver, WA has identified six confirmed cases of measles. The first three cases were confirmed Friday, January 6 and three additional cases were found through case investigation. 

Clark County is not aware of any public exposures. Based on the information they have so far, they believe the risk to the public is low. The six cases are all in one family. After the first person became ill, the other five family members isolated at home and remained at home while they were contagious. All six cases are in people who are unvaccinated.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that passes from an infected person to another through coughing or sneezing. Measles is more than just a rash and can make some people very sick. 

Measles can be prevented with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. The vaccine works well and most people receive it at age 1 and age 4. One dose of MMR vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing disease. Two doses are about 97% effective. People who have been vaccinated against measles are protected for life once they have received two doses and do not need a booster. Pregnant people and immunocompromised people should discuss options with their doctor.

While there are no known cases of measles and no known exposures in Multnomah County at this time, we are watching the situation and will stay in close contact with our colleagues across the river. 

Although measles is uncommon, we know that many have fallen behind on vaccines during the pandemic. If your child is behind, now is the time to catch up

What You Can Do 

The best protection against measles is vaccination: 

  • Check your vaccination status. To find out if you are already vaccinated for measles, talk to your doctor or health clinic, contact the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), see these tips from the CDC, or call 503-988-8939 for help.  
  • Get vaccinated! If you need help finding a vaccine call 503-988-8939.
  • If you think you were exposed to measles, call the Multnomah County Health Department Communicable Disease team at 503-988-3406. We can talk through your situation and recommend any next steps
  • If you are sick and think it could be measles, call your doctor or health clinic (don’t just show up at the clinic!)

About Measles

Measles often starts with a fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. A few days later, the measles rash will appear. It usually starts with flat, red spots at the hairline and spreads down the body. Sometimes, the fever will get very high when the rash appears.

According to the CDC, the measles virus can stay in the air for up to two hours after a sick person leaves the area. People can spread measles for up to four days before the rash appears, and continue to spread it for four days after getting the rash. Since the rash is the best way of recognizing measles, this means people can spread measles before they know they have it. Animals do not get or spread measles.

Measles can be very dangerous for babies, young children, pregnant people and immunocompromised people. Vaccination is your best protection against measles. 

More Information

Measles | (CDC)

Questions About Measles | CDC 

Measles/Rubeola | (OHA)