Health officials hope to keep measles outbreak out of Columbus

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Nineteen states across the country have ramped up their battle against the spread of the measles outbreak.

Since the beginning of the year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 465 cases in the U.S.

New York City is the latest to declare a public health emergency with 285 confirmed cases. Officials say there is no outbreak in Ohio and they want to keep it that way.

Health officials say those cases that were reported in New York are mainly in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Columbus Public Health officials have started speaking with local members of that community about the importance of vaccinations.

More than ever, health officials are encouraging families to get their children vaccinated for measles if they have not done so already.

“The reason we are seeing a lot of this outbreak is because kids are not getting vaccinated at the rate that they use to years ago,” said Dr. Ben Bring, family medicine doctor at Dublin Methodist Hospital.

Measles vaccination rates are on a downward slide statewide, according to the state’s health department.

Ohio’s measles vaccination rate stood at 88-percent in 2017. That is well below the 95-percent the last time Ohio had a measles outbreak in 2014 – which resulted in 300 cases in the Amish community
 outside of Columbus.

“You go out to public places, you travel, you go on airplanes and you don’t know where other people have been either. Nowadays, we live in such a small world. With the way global travel is, you can be exposed to this virus. It is very highly contagious,” said Bring. 

The last reported case of the measles in Columbus was in 2001. Health officials say a 24-year-old female traveling abroad brought the virus back into the state.

The highly contagious virus is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Doctors say it is important for children to receive the vaccine.

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