More than half of Ohio’s 82 measles cases are unvaccinated newborns and toddlers. Measles continues to spread among Ohio’s young population two months after the first cases were discovered. Officials in central Ohio reported at least 82 cases of measles as of Thursday morning, with all 82 being children.
After four measles cases were linked to a child care center in Franklin County on November 9, Columbus Public Health first investigated the epidemic. Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts recommended parents vaccinate their children after learning of an outbreak among unvaccinated youngsters who had not recently traveled.
Polaris Mall, a church, and a grocery shop were among the places where cases were linked by the end of the month.
Since then, however, the number has skyrocketed, with at least 82 cases and 32 hospitalizations documented by Columbus Public Health as of Thursday morning. All these infections have been found in children younger than 17, with 94% occurring in newborns, babies, and young children under the age of 5. In the outbreak’s early stages, no minors have succumbed.
Although the vaccination status of four children is still unknown, it appears that all of the children affected by the outbreak are at least partially unvaccinated, having received only one of the required two doses for the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, also known as MMR. Both doses should be given between the ages of 4 and 6, with the first between 12 and 15 months.
According to the CDC, measles symptoms (high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes) often occur within a week or two after exposure to the virus, with the rash appearing three to five days after the onset of other symptoms.
Measles, though, “isn’t simply a tiny rash,” as the CDC puts it. Babies and young toddlers are more vulnerable to measles’ harmful effects.
Health officials in Columbus stressed the importance of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine in halting the spread of the disease. When diagnosed with measles, about 20% of patients require hospitalization.
The number of cases reported to the CDC in Ohio’s outbreak in 2022 is far higher than the total number of cases recorded in the rest of the country in 2020 and 2021 combined.
Most of the outbreaks over the previous decade are “clustered in unvaccinated persons,” Dr. Shannon Dillon, a primary care pediatrician at Riley Children’s Health in Indiana, told CBS News this week.
She added that it appears early on, so it’s hard to tell what this one will do. The disease can spread rapidly “…anytime you have a cluster of unvaccinated people that tend to associate with each other.”
She explained that many parents are afraid to vaccinate their children against dangerous diseases like measles due to vaccine misinformation and a shortage of primary healthcare practitioners in their communities. If you want to stop the spread of disease, vaccines are still “one of the most critical things” you can do.
“There were millions of child deaths from diseases like measles before vaccines were widely available. And these immunizations are extremely risk-free, “Dillon had to say. “Since its introduction in 1963, very few adjustments have been made to the measles vaccine. We now have decades’ worth of data demonstrating their safety; if you have concerns, you should feel at ease discussing this with your child’s regular physician.”