2018 closed with a few cases of measles springing up in Clark County, just north of Portland across the Columbia River in Washington. As of January 26, 2018, the number of measles cases had grown to 30 confirmed infected individuals with 9 more suspected. One of those infected individuals was found in Multnomah County. The Oregonian reported an analysis of Oregon’s charter schools showed that 65 percent of the state’s public charter schools lack the ability to stop the spread of measles through “herd immunity.” If 93 to 95 percent of a community—a school, a church, a neighborhood, etc.—are vaccinated, the amount of people who are vaccinated act as a roadblock for the disease, drastically reducing measles’s ability to gain momentum, spread outside that community, and grow into a public health crisis.
Portland State sent students an email on January 23 encouraging students that “so far no Oregon residents have been diagnosed with measles.” Since this email, one person in Multnomah County has been diagnosed with measles. The email, sent from the Center for Student Health and Counseling, stated that due to the State of Oregon and PSU vaccination requirements, a majority of students have been immunized. The email advised students to check their immunization records and get vaccinated at SHAC. The email also told students they should contact SHAC or their primary care provider if they develop measles symptoms: a fever, cold-like symptoms, and red eyes.
Coverage of measles will be continued in our March issue.