On Thursday, officials confirmed that a woman died of measles in the United States. This is the first documented case of measles-related death in the country since 2003. The woman passed away this spring.
Apparently, her measles went undetected. This is according to an autopsy. Officially, her cause of death was “pneumonia due to measles.”
The victim went to Clallam County health facility concurrently with “a person who developed a rash and was contagious for measles.” She had an abundance of other health issues, and her immune system was suppressed due to some of the drugs she was taking. Reportedly, none of her symptoms looked like the measles to her doctors. No other details about the woman have been revealed to the press.
The U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention claims that 178 people from 24 states and the District of Columbia reported cases of the measles from January first to June 26 this year. The woman died in Washington state, and her death marks the eleventh case of measles in that state for 2015.
The state of Washington is now speaking out about the importance of vaccinations and immunization. They cited the woman’s passing as a “tragic situation,” and whether you support vaccinations or not, her untimely death is certainly tragic. But people with low-functioning immune systems, like this woman, can’t often be vaccinated for diseases like the measles. That’s why others who can get vaccinated should, according to the health department. They don’t want Washington residents to forget the importance of herd immunity.
This news comes at the same time as Democratic Governor Jerry Brown from California employed a strict, vaccination law for public schools. When the 2016-2017 school year begins, no parent has the right “to claim personal belief exemptions” from vaccinations. If they want to stay at a public school, they’re going to have to vaccinate their children. You might have heard actor Jim Carrey lash out against the new law, calling Brown “fascist.”
But President Obama would agree with Brown. He said earlier this year that parents “should vaccinate their kids. It’s good for them.” Many other public figures feel the very same way.
Our hearts go out to the woman’s family at this difficult time.