According to Columbus Public Health, a measles outbreak in central Ohio has affected at least 82 children, 32 of whom have been hospitalized (CPH).
On November 9, health officials stated that they had begun investigating the outbreak after a kid became infected at a daycare center in Franklin County, where Columbus is located. Cases were recorded at a mall, a church, and a Dollar Tree over the next two weeks. At the time, there were only four reported cases of measles.
54 of those sick are between the ages of one and five, 23 are under the age of one year, and five are six years or older.
According to the CPH, 74 of those affected had not had any MMR (measles, mumps, or rubella) vaccine doses, and everyone infected had not been fully immunized (two doses). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that children receive their first MMR vaccination between the ages of 12 and 15 months and their second dose between the ages of four and six years.
There have been no reported deaths.
Officials: Measles Outbreak in Ohio Infects 82 Children; 32 Hospitalized pic.twitter.com/lWMapGz4on— Melissa (@Melissa18177642) January 2, 2023
Measles is very contagious because it spreads via the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it can be fatal in children under the age of five.
“It is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9 out of 10 people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected,” the CDC states on its website. “Your child can get measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even up to two hours after that person has left.”
Ear infections and diarrhea are common symptoms of measles, while pneumonia (infecting 1 in 20 children with measles) and encephalitis (infecting 1 in 1,000 children with measles) are serious problems.
Ohio public health experts attribute the recurrence of measles in the state and country to fewer youngsters being vaccinated.
“In the year 2000, measles was declared gone from the United States,” Charles Patterson, the health commissioner for Clark County Combined Health District, told the Hill. “Unfortunately, we are starting to see it back now and that’s a huge problem because of the reduction in vaccines that are out there.”
Local parents are also being urged by Columbus health officials to vaccinate their children with an MMR vaccine.