BEND, Oregon – The ongoing measles epidemic in the Pacific Northwest has now reached Hawaii. Meanwhile, a child in Washington suspected of having measles was in Bend 10 days ago. On January 19 and 20, the child visited the Mountain Air Trampoline Park and the Juniper Fitness and Swimming Center.
It is important to note that health officials did not confirm that the child actually had measles.
However, the disease continues to spread elsewhere. There are 38 confirmed cases in Oregon and Washington, plus two new cases in Hawaii after a family trip to Washington.
That said, Deschutes County's director of public health said Tuesday that the two potential exhibition sites in central Oregon could now be safely visited.
"What's happening with measles, is that it spreads mainly through coughing, sneezing, etc.," said Heather Kaiser. "She may be a bit suspended in the air, but she only survives two hours after leaving."
Patrick Booher, owner of Mountain Air Trampoline Park, said Tuesday that he was confident that his company was free of viruses.
"No matter the measles, we clean Mountain Air daily," he said. "In fact, the facilities have been fully cleaned 10 times since January 19," date of possible exposure.
Juniper Swim and Fitness Center has a similar message. In a statement to NewsChannel 21, Bend Parks and Recreation District wrote:
"We thank public health officials who are investigating the possible exposure to measles. The Juniper Swimming and Fitness Center provided information to help his efforts. We have high standards for cleaning facilities and these are a priority. Health guidelines indicate that the measles virus can be suspended in the air for two hours and that the pool water does not transmit the virus suspended in the air. Anyone concerned about their personal health is encouraged to contact health officials directly. "
The majority of people who caught measles during this outbreak were not vaccinated. The other cases are still the subject of an investigation.
Nevertheless, the concept of vaccination and vaccination is the subject of much discussion. All do not support the practice. In fact, several people expressed concerns about NewsChannel 21 but said they were too scared to make their "anti-vaxxer" opinions public for fear of reprisal.
A Family Choice Urgent Care medical assistant in Bend said that she understood that parents had a lot to think about when making any decisions about their children. But Carolyn Nixon also pointed out that there was no reason to fear the measles vaccine.
"There have been many studies on measles vaccine proving the safety of it," said Nixon, "I think you always look at risks versus benefits." I think it's been shown that vaccination has more benefits than risks getting one of these diseases that could potentially cause serious side effects. "
Measles is very contagious.
Health officials in Deschutes County recommend to people at risk for contracting the virus if they are in one of the potential exposure sites and have never received measles vaccine. They urge these people to call the health authorities if they are not immune to measles, they have been exposed and as soon as they notice symptoms.
According to officials, no case of measles has been detected in the central Oregon community.
They work to keep it going.