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Measles Alert

DOCTOR’S ORDERS The vaccine known as MMR can give lifelong protection against measles. GETTY IMAGES

People in Washington and Oregon are rushing to get a vaccine vaccine CARL D. WALSH—PORTLAND PRESS HERALD/GETTY IMAGES a medicine given to protect against a disease (noun) He went to the doctor's office to get a vaccine. . It could protect them from the measles virus.

These states have had a measles outbreak. More than 50 people were infected, most of them children.

The measles virus lives in the nose and throat. It causes cold-like symptoms and a rash. A person can spread the virus through coughing and sneezing. This makes it highly contagious contagious BLEND IMAGES—KIDSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES able to be passed from one person or animal to another (adjective) My sister can't come to school because her flu is still contagious. . Others can get measles if they have not been vaccinated for it.

Outbreaks can happen where people are not vaccinated. In Clark County, only 78% of kids had received the measles vaccine. A community should have an immunization rate of 95%. That makes it safe against the virus.

In 17 states, parents can avoid having a child vaccinated for an unspecified personal reason. Washington lawmakers are reviewing their state’s law.

“There’s no reason we should be having this outbreak,” says Alan Melnick. He is director of public health for Clark County. “We have vaccines that are very cheap, very effective, and very, very safe.”

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