North Dakota helps fight the Washington measles outbreak

Members of the North Dakota health department are stepping up to assist in battling a measles outbreak on the west coast.

Washington is in a state of emergency, it has 36 confirmed measles cases and 12 suspected cases. 

Five members of North Dakota’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Team is in Vancouver, Washington to lend a hand against the measles outbreak. 

When it comes to natural disasters or catastrophes, these first responders are on call. 

“We kind of bounce around, depending on where the need is at,” said Angie Strand, Response Team representative at NDDOH.

Typically, the team responds to hurricanes, floods, and fires. However, this is the first time a state specifically reached out to them for help. 

“We will be filling roles such as planning, logistics, operations. We will be taking on those roles so their staff can have a break and get ready for the long haul. I don’t think that this outbreak is going to be done anytime soon,” said  Juli Sickler, Division Director at NDDOH.

 This act of duty will not only benefit other states but North Dakota as well. 

“It improves our ability to do response activity within the state because every time we are doing this activity we learn. We are able to bring back information and improve our response systems within North Dakota. We also learn how to bring outside responders into our state,” said Tim Wiedrich, Section Chief.

The response team will be in Washington for two weeks.

Measles is a contagious disease causing fevers and skin rashes and is most common among kids.

Measles vaccinations are recommended for kids between the ages of 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years old. 

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