Cases of measles in the Pacific Northwest are continuing to rise at a rapid rate, with 55 reported instances in 2019 as of Thursday, reports NPR.
The majority of cases have affected unvaccinated children and are located near the disease's epicenter in Clark County, Washington. The Pacific Northwest has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S., per NPR, and Washington is one of 17 states that allows parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children for "philosophical exemptions."
"In 2000, measles was declared eliminated from the United States, thanks to widespread vaccination campaigns," writes NPR, but 11 states have reported cases this year.
Rates have increased substantially across the globe, and cases tripled in Europe from 2017 to 2018, per VICE News. Ukraine led Europe in total measles cases in 2018, with more than 50,000. Ukraine had a 31 percent vaccination rate in 2016, reports VICE.
In order to prevent an outbreak, vaccination rates should be around 90 to 95 percent, per NPR. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently tracking three different outbreaks in New York City, New York state and Washington state. Marianne Dodson
There have been at least 22 confirmed case of measles in Clark County, Washington, and three more suspected cases, since Jan. 1. One adult has been infected with the highly contagious airborne disease, and most of the 21 children are age 10 or younger; one has been hospitalized. Nineteen of the people infected were not immunized against the disease, which — thanks to vaccines — was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000.
Clark County, which borders Portland, Oregon, has the lowest vaccination rate in Washington, with 77.4 percent of public school students having completed their vaccinations, The Oregonian reports. "The outbreak has hit religious and private schools in Clark County especially hard." Schools and a church have been identified as possible infection spots, and infected people also visited Portland International Airport, stores and restaurants, and a Jan. 11 Portland Trail Blazers game at Portland's Moda Center. No Oregonians have yet been diagnosed with measles.
There has been a rise in children not being vaccinated, raising concerns among public health officials. Before the vaccine became widely used in the early 1960s, about 400 to 500 people died every year and tens of thousands more were hospitalized. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, 349 people in 26 states were confirmed infected with measles. Peter Weber
Polio may seem out of date in the U.S., but its vaccine may be leading to a new medical breakthrough.
A modified polio vaccine injected into patients' deadly brain tumors helped reverse their "dismal" diagnoses, a report in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests. The survival rate for stage IV gliomas — a common type of brain tumor — is usually less than 20 months, and there's no effective treatment. But some of these tested patients are still alive after six years.
The 61 patients treated with the vaccine saw their conditions plateau after two years, and their 21 percent survival rate stayed constant for another year, per the report. Untreated patients had a 14 percent survival rate at two years and just 4 percent a year later.
Not every patient saw success, but it's a hopeful step in treating these aggressive tumors, NBC News says. The study's leader told NBC the results are "unprecedented," and the team will keep testing to figure out how to make the treatment work for everyone. Kathryn Krawczyk