The number of unvaccinated Clark County children with confirmed cases of the measles continues to rise, officials said Thursday, as does the number of public and private businesses where people may have been exposed to the contagious children.
Public health officials have confirmed 16 Clark County-area children have the measles, and another five are suspected to have the preventable disease. Fourteen of the confirmed cases involve children who have not been vaccinated.
According to a news release, the remaining two cases involved children with unverified immunization histories. Two children have been hospitalized, one with a confirmed measles case and the other suspected.
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It was thought to be eradicated years after the vaccine hit the U.S. in 1963. Prior to the vaccine, 400 to 500 people would die every year, and 48,000 or more were hospitalized.
Clark County has one of the worst vaccination rates among all Washington counties, with just 77.4 percent of all public students having completed their vaccinations, according to state records.
ht/ jd hasty