SEATTLE (AP) — In the Washington county that is home to one of the nation’s largest measles outbreaks, the effects go far beyond the 71 confirmed cases.
The Seattle Times reports over 800 students considered exposed to the highly contagious disease in Clark County have been ordered to stay away from classrooms for up to three weeks, disrupting their education.
Since January, field trips, after-school activities and an assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. have been canceled or postponed. Some students are doing homework off prepared handouts; others are using school-issued laptops to keep up.
If one child in a school is diagnosed, all are considered exposed – and any student whose parents cannot prove their child was vaccinated is kept away.
More than a dozen Clark County schools – most in Vancouver – had students sit out of class after a directive from health officials.
Measles is a highly contagious virus spread through the air. It can linger in a room up to two hours after someone with the virus has been there and you can catch it even before the sick person develops a rash.
The virus starts with a fever and can also cause a runny nose, cough, red eyes, ear infection, diarrhea and a rash of tiny red spots starting at the head and then spreading. It is especially dangerous for babies and young children.
The CDC said almost everyone who has not been vaccinated will get the virus if they are exposed.