A state-by-state guide to vaccine exemptions in the US

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The National Capital Region (NCR) had the highest number of measles cases out of all the regions with 1,296.

The state now allows exemptions from the vaccination requirements for children at public schools, private schools or licensed day-care centers based on medical, religious, personal or philosophical beliefs. In Washington, 43 of the 50 cases were among people who did not receive the measles vaccine. This only further enables the anti-vaxxer community to put their own children at risk in the name of their misguided beliefs that they derived from an "article" they saw on Facebook.

"U.S. -based anti-vaccine energy has gained ground in the last decade, increasing vulnerability of more and more young people - especially in older children and adults who were not vaccinated as infants", Marrazzo says. Just 16 states allow personal exemptions - meaning there does not have to be a medical or religious reason necessary.

Clark County Public Health also now maintains a daily call center for questions about the outbreak at 360-397-8021.

But with the recent outbreaks, it's important to be informed about why these outbreaks are occurring and what measles looks like. Four of those states - Colorado, Oregon, Texas, and Washington - allow for philosophical exemptions.

Every region in the state recorded a spike in cases last month, with the most dramatic upticks observed in Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and the Interior.

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The ongoing measles outbreak in the Philippines during 2019 has reached over 4,300 cases and 70 deaths, as of February 9, 2019. At least half of those cases were reported in the Pacific Northwest.

Measles is so contagious that almost everyone who isn't immunized and comes into contact with the virus will get sick. Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10 to 12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth.

Some public health officials blame the surge of cases on low vaccination rates for this highly infectious disease. In Italy, where the current governing coalition had pledged to drop a law banning children without vaccination from starting pre-school (the coalition has since reversed its position), health officials have declared a 'measles emergency, ' as nearly one quarter of all measles cases in Europe in 2017 were reported in Italy.

The language in the bill would require parents to present proof of immunization, the "initiation of and compliance with a schedule of immunization" to the school before or on the first day of attendance at a school or center.

In California, a Disneyland-linked outbreak identified in early 2015 sickened about 150 people and prompted the state to tighten its vaccination exemption laws.

World Health Organization vaccine specialist Katrine Habersaat tells RFE/RL that misinformation is just one factor behind a recent decline of vaccination coverage in Eastern and Southeastern European countries where there has been a resurgence of measles.

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