Report: 18 confirmed measles cases in Ohio

Health

FILE – This Friday, May 17, 2019 file photo shows a vial of a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in Mount Vernon, Ohio. According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, April 21, 2022, a smaller portion of U.S. children got routine vaccinations required for kindergarten during the pandemic, raising concerns that measles and other preventable diseases could increase. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)

(NewsNation) — A total of 18 confirmed measles cases have been reported in at least eight schools in central Ohio, all affecting unvaccinated children, local health officials report.  

The news follows reports of an earlier outbreak at a child care facility Nov. 9 in the same region, wherein four unvaccinated children were sickened.

At least 15 cases are in children younger than 4 and at least six have required hospitalization.

“All the facilities are cooperating with public health, and they have notified all parents and removed all unvaccinated students out of the facility for 21 days after the last case onset,” Kelli Newman, a spokesperson for Columbus Public Health, told CBS News on Wednesday

Contact tracing is now being conducted at the infected facilities and health officials are coordinating with local health care providers on measles awareness efforts in hopes of curbing the outbreak.

The facilities haven’t been named.

The nature of the infections — being that they were all in unvaccinated individuals — harkens back to public health experts’ longstanding concerns over falling vaccination rates, as the first polio diagnosis in a decade was diagnosed in New York just this year.

“MMR vaccines are very safe and highly effective at preventing measles,” Newman said in an email. “We offer walk-in MMR vaccines at Columbus Public Health Monday through Friday every week. We have not seen an uptick here on MMR vaccinations yet from what we usually do, but that is not indicative of uptake overall since we do not know what is being given by providers in the community.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says measles can be spread via coughing, talking or being in the same room with an infected person.

According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, about one in five people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized. And there’s about a 90% chance for contraction if unvaccinated individuals are exposed to someone with measles.

In the meantime, Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health are now encouraging parents to keep up with their children’s immunization records.

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