PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Neala Horstmann laughs out loud a lot, is starting to roll over and loves Sebastian, her big brother. Neala, who is 4 months old, likes to chew on everything and “be part of the conversation,” her mom, Sarah Horstmann said.
As the measles outbreak in Washington and Oregon continues — with almost all of the cases in unvaccinated children — parents with newborns are understandably concerned. Sarah admits it’s worrisome.
“My husband and I and our 5-year-old have been vaccinated, but there’s not much we can do for the baby,” she told KOIN 6 News. “My 5-year-old is in skateboarding lessons and swimming lessons and those are activities with other children and I guess children are the biggest risk right now, children that haven’t been vaccinated.”
As of Tuesday, there are 36 confirmed cases in Washington — 35 of them in Clark County — with another dozen suspected cases. Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency over the measles outbreak.
Sarah said she wasn’t overly worried about the measles and thought it might be like the chicken pox.
“I mean, everyone that I know of that’s my age has been vaccinated and I think it was pretty much eradicated in 2000,” she said.
After she did more research, though — “super rare instances death, but also blindness and deafness, the illness in general is pretty severe too” — she became a little more worried.
“We were just at OMSI a couple days before the last reported case at OMSI this past weekend,” she said. “That was a little unnerving.”
But the Horstmanns are planning a trip to Missouri in about 6 weeks, and Neala won’t be 6 months old until after their trip is over.
Their doctor did not say to cancel their trip, though. “She actually said she’s less worried about measles exposure in the Midwest than she is on the West Coast,” Sarah said.
She’s trying to find balance in their day-to-day life and do what she can to protect her baby.
“I am worried, but you know, but we have to live our lives, too. I have to go to the grocery store to buy food. I have to pick up my son from school. So there’s things that I have to do that I just try to suppress that worry as much as I can.”
Like most parents, Sarah Horstmann is doing her best to keep her kids safe and healthy for one simple reason.
“She’s my everything,” she said. “That’s what her little onesie says: My sun, my moon, my stars.”