Dozens of unvaccinated children fall ill with measles in US

With dozens of confirmed cases of measles, a state of emergency has been declared in the US state of Washington by Governor Jay Inslee.

The highly contagious virus, which can sit with someone for up to a week before showing that signature red rash, has health officials once again sounding the alarm - urging parents to immunize their children.

Dr Jennifer Vines, deputy health officer for the Multnomah County health department.

"When diseases become real, I think that parents who may be putting off vaccines or just hadn't really made a decision, I think that gets their attention," Dr Jennifer Vines, deputy health officer for the Multnomah County health department, told CBS News.

"I think we do see a bump sometimes in vaccination after an outbreak like this, and that's certainly my hope."

Most of those infected are children whose parents failed to immunise them.

Anti-vaxxers, as vaccine skeptics are known, were recently named one of the top 10 threats to global health by the World Health Organization.

An outbreak of chickenpox at a US school last year was blamed on anti-vaxxer parents.

Watch the video for the full CBS News report.