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.