The U.S. Just Recorded Its First Measles Death In 12 Years

For the first time in twelve years, an American hospital has recorded a death due to measles:

Health officials on Thursday confirmed the country’s first measles death since 2003, and they believe the victim was most likely exposed to the virus in a health facility in Washington state during an outbreak there.

The woman died in the spring; a later autopsy confirmed that she had an undetected measles infection, the Washington State Department of Health said in a statement. The official cause of death was announced as “pneumonia due to measles.”

The woman was at a Clallam County health facility “at the same time as a person who later developed a rash and was contagious for measles,” the health department statement read. “The woman had several other health conditions and was on medications that contributed to a suppressed immune system. She didn’t have some of the common symptoms of measles such as a rash, so the infection wasn’t discovered until after her death.”

The release did not provide any other identifying details, including the woman’s age.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 178 people from 24 states and the District were reported to have measles from Jan. 1 through June 26 of this year. Two-thirds of the cases, the CDC noted, were “part of a large multi-state outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.”

This newly confirmed case marks Washington’s 11th reported instance of measles this year, and state health officials urged people to vaccinate against the virus.

“This tragic situation illustrates the importance of immunizing as many people as possible to provide a high level of community protection against measles,” the state health department’s statement read. “People with compromised immune systems often cannot be vaccinated against measles.”

This is why herd immunity is important, my friends.

FILED UNDER: Health, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mikey says:

    Stupidity kills. Unfortunately, it too often kills people who weren’t being stupid themselves.

    It’s hard to come up with a more short-sighted, selfish, entitled, ignorant bunch than the anti-vaxxers. And now they’ve killed someone.

  2. ptfe says:

    “This is why herd immunity is important, my friends.”

    In Clallam County it’s called “pack immunity”. Or whatever you call a group of vampires.

  3. anjin-san says:

    We recently had a whooping cough outbreak here thanks to these idiots.

  4. M. Bouffant says:

    Fun fact or two: I’m a bit too old to have been vaccinated, & was home-schooled for about half of elementary school so I missed it then, but contracted measles at 27 or 28.

    Lost at least 20 lbs. in the two wks. I was laid up, & was advised by a doctor not to drink to excess & otherwise to take it easy for the next yr. or so, as getting measles at that advanced age gave me a 1-in-100 chance of contracting MS. Research shows that possible connection was a more popular theory in the late ’70s/early ’80s than now, but it’s nothing an adult wants to have, fatal or not.

  5. ernieyeball says:

    This is about the most recent news item I can find re: Dandy Randy Paul and his blatently pandering stance on vaccines.
    Checked Rand Paul for President website ( Can’t find any reference to the issue there.
    Gotta’ wonder if Paul is ducking the issue. (Not really. I’m sure he is.)

    Dandy’s page is also void of any mention about his alleged rendezvous with “Cracker” Cliven Bundy.

    Bundy claims Paul told him “He said he would turn over the jurisdiction authority and allow the state of Nevada to act like a sovereign state. He said it would be up to we the people to govern ourselves.” (raw

    They must have met at Area 51.
    Something on the internet called states:

    “I say alleged meeting because according to the Associated Press, Paul’s campaign denies his having spent 45 minutes meeting with the constitutionally minded cattle rancher.”

    Here is the only AP story I can find on the matter.