STARK COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - The Ohio Department of Health confirmed the first reported case of the measles in the state for 2019 Friday.
ODH says a juvenile from Stark County recently traveled to a state with confirmed measles cases where they contracted the virus.
This is the first confirmed measles case in the Buckeye State since 2017, ODH says.
Currently, 28 states, including many neighboring states like Kentucky and Indiana, already have confirmed measles cases, with several having confirmed outbreaks of the virus.
Ohio’s last confirmed measles outbreak was in 2014, with 382 confirmed cases, ODH says.
The department says the state occasionally sees measles cases as the result of importations from other countries where the virus remains endemic.
“Vaccinations save lives, period. I urge everyone who can, to get vaccinated,” Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton said. “Vaccination is the safest, most effective way to prevent serious vaccine-preventable diseases in children and adults, including measles.”
ODH says measles is ‘extremely contagious’ and can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.
They say if one person has measles, up to 90 percent of those who come into contact with that person and are not immune will also become infected.
Measles can live for up to two hours in air where an infected person coughed or sneezed, the department says.
You can become infected by breathing the contaminated air or touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, noses, or mouths, they say.
People infected with measles can spread it to others from four days before, to four days after, a rash appears, the department says.
They say outbreaks are currently happening and still common in Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Ukraine, and the Philippines.
The department says measles symptoms include a rash, high fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite and red, watery eyes. The rash usually lasts five to six days and begins at the hairline, moves to the face and upper neck, and proceeds down the body, they say.
They say diarrhea and ear infections are common complications of measles, they say. More severe complications may also happen.
ODH says complications from measles are more common among children younger than five years old, adults older than 20 years old, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems.
About one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the department says, and is the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
They also say about one out of every 1,000 children who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can cause deafness or intellectual disabilities.
One to three of every 1,000 children who become infected with measles will die from respiratory and neurological complications, they say.