- Associated Press - Friday, February 6, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada lawmakers say they’re satisfied with the response from the state’s top medical officials Friday regarding the reaction to a recent outbreak of measles.

Nevada Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tracey Green, health department head Romaine Gilliland and representatives from several county health districts testified before legislators on the statewide response to the outbreak during a meeting of the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services.

Legislators don’t anticipate taking any official action as a result of the meeting, committee chair James Oscarson said, but the meeting gave lawmakers a chance to ask about vaccination rates in their districts and find out more about the state’s response to the outbreak.

“It’s an effort to make sure our constituents know the state is paying attention,” the Fallon Republican said.

During the meeting, health officials informed legislators that Nevada has a relatively high rate of childhood vaccination because the state doesn’t have a personal belief exemption to vaccinations, unlike in California or Colorado.

Green told lawmakers that the best way to stop the spread of infectious disease, like measles, is through vaccinations. “We recommend that you vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate,” she said.

Two confirmed measles cases and two probable cases have been reported during the last week throughout the state. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said an estimated 105 measles cases nationwide - mostly in California - have been linked to visits to Disneyland in December or exposure to infected people.

At least one of the confirmed measles cases in southern Nevada was linked to the outbreak in California, health officials said.

Measles is extremely contagious and is spread by air through coughing and sneezing. The disease is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, people with weak immune systems and babies who are too young to receive the vaccine.

Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson, who sits on the health committee, said the outbreak ties into a larger problem about Nevada’s lack of doctors and medical resources. The Reno Democrat said she’s looking at getting more money for in-school vaccinations and other preventative health measures.

“Whether it’s Ebola, whether it’s measles, whatever the disease of the moment is, we across the board need a better way to address the lack of physicians,” she said.


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