SPRINGFIELD – The measles outbreak in Ohio continues to increase and now includes Clark County.
The Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) confirmed a positive measles test and is conducting a case investigation and contact tracing. This represents the first case of measles in Clark County in over 20 years.
Statewide, 77 cases of measles have been reported since the outbreak began in mid-October. Among those diagnosed with measles, 72 of the 77 were unvaccinated and five individuals received at least one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Two-dose MMR vaccines are recommended for children beginning at ages 12-15 months, with a second dose recommended between ages 4-6.
Measles is extremely contagious but highly preventable with vaccination. MMR vaccines are demonstrated 93% effective against measles after one dose and 97% effective after the second dose.
Unvaccinated individuals are at risk of infection and severe disease. With the risk for community spread, parents are encouraged to make sure their children are up to date on all childhood immunizations, including the MMR vaccine.
Ninety percent of unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to measles will become infected, and about one in five people who get measles will be hospitalized with symptoms including pneumonia, dehydration, or brain swelling.
Twenty-five children in Ohio have been hospitalized in the current outbreak.
Children infected with measles can spread it to others, even before they have symptoms. Measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air after an infected person leaves the room. It spreads easily by coughing, talking, or being in the same room with someone who has contracted the virus.
Initial symptoms of measles include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes followed by a rash that typically spreads from the head to the rest of the body. Generally, it takes 8 to 12 days from exposure to someone with measles for the first symptom to appear, which is usually fever. The measles rash usually appears two to three days after the fever begins.
If you have symptoms of measles, call your doctor or clinic and they will let you know if you need to come in for a visit.
Call your provider ahead of time to let them know about any symptoms and potential exposure before going in.
The measles vaccine is safe and effective with hundreds of millions of doses given safely over the last 50 years. MMR vaccines are available at most pediatricians’ offices.
Info from Clark County Combined Health District