Major measles outbreak strikes anti-vaxxer stronghold in Washington state
Sick child with the measles (Shutterstock)

A major measles outbreak has struck a county in Washington state where vaccination rates of children have been plummeting.

Local news station KATU reports that health officials in Clark County this week announced there have now been 22 confirmed cases of measles -- including 19 cases in which the infected children were not vaccinated.

KATU says that publicly available health statistics show that vaccination rates have experienced a massive drop over the past thirteen years.

"More than 91.4 percent of all kindergartners had completed all their immunizations in the 2004-2005 school year," KATU reports. "That number fell to 76.5 percent in the 2017-2018 school year. For measles, the number of vaccinated kindergartners fell from 96.4 percent to 84.5 percent over that same time period."

Dr. Jason Hanley, the Emergency Department Medical Director at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, said it's been "an interesting week" at his facility because measles is normally "a relatively rare disease."

PeaceHealth has also been advising children who have not been vaccinated for measles to not enter into its facility.