WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — Central Ohio’s measles outbreak has reached Westerville City Schools.
The district has one confirmed measles case, according to an email sent Tuesday to school district families and staff. Franklin County Public Health informed the district Monday evening.
The case is included in the 46 confirmed cases in central Ohio, according to Columbus Public Health’s measles dashboard, which was updated Thursday morning. More than 70% of cases are in children under 2. Five cases are in children aged 6 to 17. All cases are in unvaccinated children.
“We cannot provide details of this case due to medical privacy laws, but it is our understanding that the family is taking the necessary measures to address the illness within their household,” the district’s email read. “Staff and families that have been impacted directly will be notified.”
Westerville City Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Wednesday, Columbus Public Health commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts announced that three public locations in Columbus were exposed to the the virus — but emphasized that asymptomatic people cannot get tested.
Measles is a highly contagious virus transmitted through coughing and sneezing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infected individuals can spread the virus for up to four days before becoming symptomatic.
The virus is commonly identified through its hallmark rash, a network of flat red spots that might start at the hairline and spread downward across a person’s body. But by the time the rash occurs, a person has already been contagious for several days. Other symptoms both agencies urged people to look out for include a high fever, runny nose and watery eyes.
It typically takes eight to 12 days after exposure for symptoms to develop, according to Columbus and Franklin public health agencies.
Columbus and Franklin public health agencies encourage parents to vaccinate their children with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The MMR vaccine, a two-dose immunization, is 97% effective against measles infection, according to the CDC.
The CDC recommends all children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, with the first between 12 and 15 months old and the second at 4 through 6 years of age or at least 28 days after the first dose.