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'Patient zero' in measles outbreak came from outside the country, Washington health officials say

Measles virus particle
Measles virus particle (CDC via Getty Images)

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington health officials have identified "patient zero" in the measles outbreak as someone from outside the country.

As of Wednesday, the Clark County Public Health Department had confirmed 50 cases of meales since January 1. Among the confirmed cases, 43 were not immunized against the highly contagious disease.

Washington State Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist told KOMO News that "patient zero" had come into contact with a large group of un-vaccinated children.

"All those kids that were un-immunized went to public places like Ikea, Costco and a Portland Trailblazers game," Lindquist said.

Measles is caused by the measles virus, which can be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. The infection is easily preventable by a vaccine.

“The measles vaccine isn’t perfect, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness,” said Dr. Alan Melnick of the Clark County Public Health Department. “The recommended two doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection – 97 percent.”


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