Church possible first measles exposure site for Washington state outbreak

Church possible first measles exposure site for Washington state outbreak
A Bible meeting may have been the first exposure to measles in a Washington state outbreak.

VANCOUVER, WA (KATU/CNN) – Washington state officials have upped the number of confirmed cases in a measles outbreak to 35.

The problem may have started at a Vancouver church Bible studies meeting.

Clark County public health officials can't confirm it, but a bible study class held by the Slavic Christian Academy inside Vancouver's Gracepoint Christian Church nearly a month ago may be one of the first measles exposure sites in the county.

“Nobody (is), like, preaching 'Do not take any shots,” said Andre Doblinin, principal at Slavic Christian Academy.

The academy’s principal said people attending church services and Bible studies at two sites in Vancouver and one in Portland are encouraged to get children vaccinated.

But the congregation includes many families who don't trust government - or vaccination programs - because of time spent living in the former Soviet Union.

“Some of them says we don’t want to take a shot ... after that so because some kids infected after shots,” Doblinin said.

He said he believes a girl visiting from Florida over Christmas brought the infection here.

Florida’s Department of Health reported four unvaccinated measles cases in December.

The Clark County Public Health Department is looking at Florida or another outbreak in New York as possible outbreak sources.

Boost Oregon is battling the mistrust of vaccines.

“Vaccines are a complicated science, and not everyone has a science background or is able to sift through the seemingly contradictory information that is out there in the media, online and among parenting circles,” said Nadine Gartner, Boost Oregon’s executive director.

It's hard for county health officials to pin down a single source for the outbreak because it can take weeks for an infected person to start showing signs of the measles.

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