Ohio sees first confirmed case of the measles in 3 years

A Doctor prepares a measles vaccine
A Doctor prepares a measles vaccine(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - The director of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, has confirmed the state’s first measles case since 2019.

The infected Franklin County child recently traveled to a country with confirmed measles cases, according ODH.

ODH said that Ohio can occasionally see these cases as a result of importations from other countries where measles remains endemic.

According to the CDC, as of June 3, a total of three measles cases were reported by two jurisdictions.

The last confirmed measles breakout, according to ODH, was in 2014 with a total of 382 confirmed cases.

“It is vitally important for children to stay up to date with all of the recommended vaccines,” Dr. Vanderhoff said. “Vaccines protect us against preventable, communicable diseases.”

At a COVID-19 press conference today, Dr. Vanderhoff and colleagues spoke about staying current with childhood vaccines and its importance.

According to ODH, measles is extremely contagious and can be spread through coughing and sneezing.

They said that if one person has measles, up to 90% of those not immune that come into contact with that person will also become infected.

Living up to two hours in air where an infected person coughed or sneezed, ODH said that if other people breathe the measles contaminated air, or touch a contaminated surface and then their eyes, noses or mouths, they can become infected.

Infected individuals can spread it to others from four days before to four days after a rash appearing, according to ODH.

ODH said measles is still common in many parts of world, and large outbreaks are currently occurring in Nigeria, India, Somalia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Liberia, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire.

Travelers with measles bring the disease into the U.S., ODH said, which can lead to it spreading in communities with unvaccinated individuals.

ODH said if you are planning travel, you are encouraged to contact your healthcare provider to ensure you are fully protected against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

The symptoms of measles include a rash, high fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite and red, watery eyes.

The rash typically lasts five to six days, and begins at the hairline, later moving to the face and neck and proceeding down to the body, according to ODH.

Ear infections and diarrhea are also common complications of measles, ODH said, and more severe complications may occur.

ODH said that complications from measles are more common among those younger than 5, older than 20, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

“In recent years, nationwide we have seen a slight drop in vaccination rates among our children,” Dr. Vanderhoff said. “This has led to several outbreaks, such as measles, that again, are largely preventable.”

More information about measles is available on the CDC website as well as recommended immunization schedules.

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