Fourth measles case confirmed in Clallam County; day care won't accept kids who aren't vaccinated

SEQUIM, Wash. -- Another confirmed measles case in Clallam County was announced Friday.

Health officials say a 14-year-old boy, sibling of the second case, contracted the virus.
The boy was quarantined and had no contact with the public during his infectious period.

But the increasing number of cases across Washington is alarming to many.

One of the very first questions Bibity Bobity Child Care in Sequim will ask parents is whether  their kids are vaccinated. If they are not, they are turned away.

“We’ve had that difficult conversation and it is a difficult one but it’s a personal choice,” director Anna Reardon said.

Many day cares accept children with vaccine exemptions as long as they have a doctor’s note but Bibity Bobity Child Care says there are no exceptions here.

“The risk is too high so our owner has chosen to not accept those with full immunizations,” Reardon said.

Reardon added that with four confirmed cases of the potentially deadly measles virus in the Port Angeles area, it’s just too risky taking kids who aren’t vaccinated.

“It’s made us more aware of taking care of our children,” Reardon said.

A 5-year-old girl is among the four measles cases. The kindergartner goes to Olympic Christian School and is now under quarantine at home.

“If you are not immunized, there is literally up to a 90% chance of contracting the measles,” Dr. Scott Kennedy said.

There is so much concern that an isolation tent has been set up outside Olympic Medical Center, where staff in Hazmat gear are testing people for the measles. They are keeping people from going inside the hospital if they are showing signs of measles.

The symptoms include a high fever of 104 degrees or more, coughing, running nose, red watery eyes and a rash that breaks out 3 to 5 days after symptoms begin.

“I already have this history of not vaccinating and having the measles at 5 and chicken pox,” Melissa Lang-Lytle said.

The North Seattle mom remembers how miserable it was having the measles as a child but she’s chosen not to vaccinate her three kids.

“If my child were to be injured by a vaccine and have an allergic reaction I don’t know if I would be protected on the flip side. I feel like many parents feel the way I do,” Lytle said.

With a growing number of parents choosing not to vaccinate, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce the number of exemptions for childhood vaccinations. That doesn’t sit well with Lytle.

“The issue is whether or not you are taking my right to make the choice away, informed consent away,” Lytle said.

For Bibity Bobity Child Care, the choice is simple: Vaccinate or go elsewhere.