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The latest updates on the measles outbreak in north central Ohio indicate that the Ohio Department of Health has confirmed a case of measles in southwest Ohio. The Highland County Health Department stated that an infant less than six months old has contracted the virus. Their family traveled in mid-May to north-central Ohio, where six counties are now experiencing a measles outbreak.
The State of Ohio’s measles outbreak is the largest outbreak in the United States since 1994, with experts stating that a lack of immunizations is the main cause. Measles spreads fast to unvaccinated children and adults because its early symptoms usually resemble those of a cold.
Prior to the appearance of the rash, children with measles develop cold-like symptoms, including a cough, runny nose, fever, and inflamed eyes, often called pinkeye (conjunctivitis). These symptoms tend to get worse during the first 1 to 3 days of the illness. In some children, the infection causes pneumonia and in a few, encephalitis (infection of the brain). After a child has been ill for about 2 to 3 days, the rash will finally become visible, first as tiny red bumps that form larger patches of red. The rash usually begins on the face and neck and then spreads to the torso, arms, and legs. It lasts for 5 to 8 days before it begins to go away. Young children with measles may develop other symptoms, including an ear infection, croup, and diarrhea.
This disease can be serious. Before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3 million to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99 percent reduction in measles cases in the United States compared with the pre-vaccine era. Frequently asked questions and answers about the measles can be found on the Ohio Department of Health’s website . More information about vaccine preventable diseases can be found by clicking here.
As always your child’s health and safety are our utmost concern. If you have any questions or concerns, or if your child is showing symptoms, call us here at Muddy Creek Pediatrics at 513.398.3900. You can read our vaccinations policy by clicking here.
If you or your children are not vaccinated, schedule your appointments to be vaccinated now. For babies who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated, the Ohio Department of Health’s State Epidemiologist, Dr. Mary DiOrio, states that “Contracting measles is especially serious for infants younger than twelve months old. Parents with infants too young to be vaccinated should consider not traveling with them to areas where measles outbreaks are occurring.”
Additional Sources for Information:
American Academy of Pediatrics
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