The Washington State Department of Health says that as of Friday, there are 60 confirmed cases of the measles in Washington. KHQ spoke with one woman in Spokane who has family that have been personally been affected by the measles.
Michele, who asked to keep her last name private, said one morning, years ago, her mother went to wake up her six-year-old brother, John.
“My mom to this day still has his little lunch pale,” Michele said.
Her mother couldn’t get him out of bed, not even able to open his eyes.
“She hangs up his Christmas decorations every year,” Michele said.
A day and a half later, Michele’s brother was gone.
“I’ve had two people in my immediate family impacted by the measles,” Michele said.
Her mother was heartbroken, and pregnant with Michelle.
“I still miss my brother, and I never even met him,” Michele said.
John was only in second grade when his brain swelled up, and this was during a time when there wasn’t a measles vaccination.
Michele’s mother is still living with side effects from when she had the measles. At three-years-old, her mother is permanently blinded in one eye.
“I think people don’t realize the seriousness of it anymore,” Michele said.
But, Michele said she does.
“I remember when it came time to immunize my own daughter, there was no question, I didn’t even think about it,” Michele said.
The Spokane Regional Health District said the measles is just a plane trip away to Spokane, and even though the west side is getting it under control, they’re going to be dealing with this for the next month, at least.
“Even one case of measles can come into a new area, and we can have that blow up into an outbreak. Measles is that serious,” Mark Springer, Spokane Regional Health District, said.
Michele said it’s not only important to vaccinate your child for their safety, but for the safety of everyone who can’t get the vaccination. Michele told KHQ it’s hard on her family every time there’s an outbreak of the measles, and she wants people to dig deep and research the MMR vaccination, before deciding their child doesn’t need it.