Sad United States records 1st death from measles in 12 years

The state health department said the woman from Clallam County, in northwestern Washington, was most likely exposed to measles at a medical facility during a recent outbreak in the area.

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Washington has recorded its first known measles death in 12 years after an autopsy revealed that an undetected infection was the underlying cause of a woman's death.

The state health department said the woman from Clallam County, in northwestern Washington, was most likely exposed to measles at a medical facility during a recent outbreak in the area.

The agency added that the woman was there at the same time as another person who turned out to have been contagious with the virus.

But the woman never developed some of the common symptoms of measles, such as a rash, so her infection was not discovered until after her death.

Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer said her precise immunization status was unknown, and though she had measles anti-bodies, the woman also had several other health conditions and was on medications that suppressed her immune system.

Her death was therefore ruled by medical examiners as pneumonia due to measles.

The agency, thus, cited the death to illustrate how vaccines for highly infectious diseases are important not just to protect the individual but to provide "herd" immunity for those most vulnerable among the public.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said the last confirmed measles death in the US was reported in 2003.

 

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