COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The first measles case confirmed in Ohio is prompting a warning from the Ohio Department of Health.
The Ohio health director reported Friday that a young adult from Stark County contracted the virus while visiting another state. The infected person and anyone who came into contact with the patient are being quarantined as a precaution.
The latest case is the first confirmed in Ohio since 2017. Previously, Ohio’s last recorded measles outbreak was in 2014, when 382 cases were confirmed.
So far in 2019, 28 total states have confirmed measles cases, including several experiencing outbreaks.
“Cases that are happening in other states are linked to pockets of unvaccinated individuals and then we also have cases from individuals traveling internationally to countries where measles is still endemic,” said Sietske de Fijter, epidemiologist and chief of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases at the Ohio Department of Health.
De Fijter explained individuals not vaccinated have a 90 percent chance of contracting the measles, either from direct contact or breathing air where an infected person sneezed or coughed up to two hours prior.
Elise Sullivan, a nurse and mother of two small children, said she worries about infants or immunocompromised individuals catching the disease from someone who chooses not to be vaccinated.
“It is concerning, especially with young ones who haven’t been fully vaccinated yet because they’re too young to be,” Sullivan said. “To know these diseases are in our community after they had been essentially eliminated, it does concern me.”
Measles symptoms can include a rash, high fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite and red, watery eyes. There is no known cure for the virus, but supportive treatment can help alleviate symptoms. Severe complications are more common among children younger than 5, adults older than 20, and people with compromised immune systems.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends children get their first measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) shot at 12 months old and the second between ages 4-6 years old. Anyone unsure of their immunization history should contact their health care provider to verify if they’ve been vaccinated.
“It’s very easy to do. There is no shortage of vaccines, so we highly encourage anybody who is unvaccinated, especially children, to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” de Fijter said.
In order to help any further cases in the state, Franklin Couty Public Health is offering MMR vaccine clinics next week.
The clinics will offer the vaccines to children 18 and younger who have not had their two doses of vaccine and to uninsured adults born after 1957 who haven’t been vaccinated.
The clinics will offer the vaccines on a walk-in basis in Dublin, Prairie Township and Canal Winchester.
Franklin County Health officials said people who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine in the past do not need to be revaccinated.
People seeking to get the vaccines need to bring a child’s shot record, parent photo ID and insurance card. Children cannot be seen without these three documents.
For insured adults born after 1957 who have not had the MMR vaccine, please talk to your local pharmacist or physician about receiving it.
The clinics will be held:
- Wednesday, July 17
Dublin Recreation Center
5600 Post Road
- Thursday, July 18
Prairie Township Fire Department
123 Inah Avenue
- Friday, July 19
Canal Winchester Community Center
22 South Trine Street