The measles epidemic in Central Ohio has affected at least 82 children, with 32 having been admitted to hospitals, as per Columbus Public Health (CPH).
Health officials said they began studying the outbreak on the morning of November 9 , after an infant was infected at a childcare facility located in Franklin County, where Columbus is situated. In the following weeks, the cases were discovered at a mall, a church, and at a Dollar Tree. There were just four cases of measles reported in the period.
Of those who are infected, 54 of them are between the ages of one to five, while 23 patients are younger than one year old and five are aged six and over.
The CPH found that 74 of the patients infected had not received any dose of the MMR (measles or mumps or rubella) vaccine. Additionally, all affected were not fully vaccinated (two doses). It is recommended that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that children receive their first doses from the MMR vaccination from 12 and 15 months old , and then the second dose is given between four and six years old.
There are no reported deaths.
Measles is extremely contagious since it is transmitted through the air when a person who is infected coughs or sneezes. It can also cause serious complications in children younger than five years old.
“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 says in its site. “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.”
The most common measles-related complications are diarrhea and ear infections, as well as pneumonia-which affects one in 20 children who have measles-and encephalitis which infects one in 1,000 children who have measles.
Health officials from the state of Ohio blame the recent resurgence of measles across the state and across the nation on the fact that fewer children are being vaccinated.
“In the year 2000, measles was declared gone from the United States,” Charles Patterson, the health commissioner of Clark County Combined Health District said to 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.”
Columbus city health authorities are encouraging parents in the area to immunize their children with the MMR vaccine.