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According to Live Science (This article and its images were originally posted on Live Science February 8, 2019 at 01:35PM.)
The Pacific Northwest is in the midst of a measles outbreak, with new cases of the disease being reported daily. The primary culprit, experts say, is a decline in vaccination rates, which is leaving more people vulnerable to infection.
But another factor is that the measles is an extremely contagious virus. And we mean extremely.
When doctors and scientists study how diseases spread, one factor they calculate is how many people, on average, are likely to become infected through contact with just one sick person.
That factor is measured by the basic reproduction number, or “R nought.” And the higher that number, the more contagious the disease and the tougher it may be to contain within a population. For measles, the number is unusually high; this means that a single case can quickly spiral into a pandemic if people aren’t protected through vaccination or natural immunity, experts told Live Science.
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