In the spring of 2015, a Washington woman became the first measles death in the United States since 2003. This is also the first measles death in Washington State since 1990. The woman did not have some of the most common symptoms of the measles. These symptoms are rashes, and this infection wasn’t discovered until her autopsy showed she had the measles.
THIS IS THE FIRST measles DEATH in 12 years, BUT NOT THE FIRST DIAGNOSIS
This isn’t the first case of the measles in this county, however. This marks the 11th case in the state and the 6th in the county.
The measles is highly contagious and spreads when the affected person coughs, sneezes or breathes. Health officials do, however, say that death is extremely rare.
OFFICIALS HAVE NOT RELEASED AGE OR VACCINATION RECORDS
Officials have not released whether or not the woman was vaccinated, but they did release that she had an immune system that was compromised due to medications that she was taking. Other information such as her age was not released to protect her identity, but they did say that she was not elderly.
OFFICIALS BELIEVE SHE CONTRACTED IT FROM ANOTHER PATIENT IN THE HOSPITAL
In the spring, the woman was in the hospital for several health conditions at a facility in Washington that covers the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula. She was also there with another person who later developed a rash and was contagious. Officials believe that this is where she was exposed to the measles and contracted it.
After treatment at one center, she was moved to Seattle to the University of Washington Medical Center, where she later died. The autopsy reported that the cause of death was pneumonia due to the measles. The last active case of the measles was recorded in late April of this year.
VACCINATIONS ARE THE BEST WAY TO REDUCE OUTBREAKS
Officials urge that this is to reflect the importance of vaccinations and immunization to protect the community against the measles. However, people with immune systems whose health has been compromised cannot be vaccinated against the measles, and are thus more susceptible to outbreaks.