The Numbers Behind the Local Measles Outbreak

It's not looking good.

By Margaret Seiler March 26, 2019 Published in the April 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Pentecostals who fled religious persecution in the former Soviet Union and Left Coast lovers of alternative health care: these two disparate groups can both share a distrust of government-mandated vaccinations. This winter, unvaccinated children in Vancouver’s Russian evangelical comm-unity propelled a measles outbreak; Portland’s many pockets of lower vaccine rates (often clustered in charter or Waldorf schools), were largely spared.


Confirmed cases, as of press time, stemming from the Clark County–based outbreak (73 in Clark, 1 in King, and 4 in Multnomah County)


Number of weeks Vancouver’s Church of Christ the Savior, one of the outbreak’s identified exposure sites, canceled Sunday and Russian school


Attendance at January 11’s Blazers-Hornets game at the Moda Center, also an exposure site


Number of Portland Village School students last year with a measles vaccine exemption, according to the Oregon Health Authority. The Waldorf-inspired charter school houses the metro area’s largest such cluster


Number of students with a vaccine exemption at Portland Public Schools’ similarly sized George Middle School, located about three miles from Portland Village School


Global measles deaths in 2017—that’s mostly children under 5—according to the World Health Organization

1–2 in 1,000

Chance a child who contracts measles will die, according to the Centers for Disease Control

>1 in 1,000,000

Chance a person will have a severe allergic reaction to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine


Minutes to click through Oregon’s online Vaccine Education Module to secure an exemption certificate opting a child out of the MMR vaccine without a medical professional’s signature

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