Washington's measles outbreak, which has sickened at least 71 people since January 1, has attracted the attention of the nation's top doctor, the U.S. Surgeon General.
On Thursday, Dr. Jerome Adams visited a Seattle clinic to explain what health officials can do to get more people vaccinated.
“We know that the number one reason why folks choose to get vaccinated is trust in their provider and a strong provider recommendation,” Dr. Adams said, during a visit to the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.
Higher vaccination rates would prevent measles from spreading, and the Washington Secretary of Health says there's been a significant uptick in people, especially adults, seeking vaccines since the start of the outbreak.
Dr. Adams said a legislative fix could also help prevent future outbreaks.
“The science tells us that states (that) have more than medical exemptions available have lower vaccination rates and are at higher risk for vaccine-preventable outbreaks,” he said.
Washington lawmakers just advanced a bill to eliminate personal or philosophical exemptions to vaccinating their kids.
Meanwhile, doctors say the Clark County outbreak will likely smolder for weeks, if not months.
“We are in the fifth wave of the spread of this, so we are seeing some hopeful signs of some slowing, but we’re not out of the woods yet, we will not know we’re out of the woods until 42 days after the last case is diagnosed,” said Dr. John Wiesman, the Washington Secretary of Health.