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Local health officials urges: Get vaccinated to prevent measles

Zoe Greszler • May 20, 2019 at 2:00 PM

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 839 measles cases have been confirmed in 23 states, as of May 10.

This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. in 25 years. As the number of cases continue to grow, Huron County Public Health (HCPH) is urging local residents to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Individuals should check their vaccination records. If they have no record of measles immunity, HCPH encourages people to get the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine. To schedule a vaccination appointment, call 419-668-1652 Ext. 241.

In the U.S., most of the measles cases have resulted from travel outside of the U.S. There are currently no confirmed measles cases in Ohio. However, cases have been reported in the states surrounding Ohio — Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and in Michigan, where an outbreak is occurring. As individuals travel across state lines, there is a chance of coming into contact with measles in the community, especially when visiting local tourist destinations. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk.

The MMR vaccine is safe and effective. One dose of MMR vaccine is approximately 93 percent effective at preventing measles; two doses are around 97 percent effective. The CDC recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. Adults born during or after 1957, who do not have evidence of immunity, should get at least one dose of vaccine. Individuals may be immune to measles if they were born before 1957, received the MMR vaccine, or had a past measles infection. Residents that are unsure of their immunity should contact their primary care doctor.

Measles is more than just a rash and fever; it can cause serious health complications, especially in children younger than 5 years old. About 1 in 4 people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized, and 1 or 2 out of 1,000 people will die, even with the best care. Pneumonia, or lung infection, is the most common cause of death from the measles in young children. Encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, is another serious complication which can lead to seizures, deafness and intellectual disability.

 

Who should get vaccinated?

• College students

• International travelers

• Those traveling to states with current measles cases or outbreaks

• Adults born during or after 1957, who do not have immunity

• Family members and friends of people at high risk of severe illness and complications, which includes:

— Infants and children younger than 5 years old

— Adults older than 20 years old

— Pregnant women

— People with compromised immune systems such as from leukemia or HIV infection

To make an appointment for an MMR vaccine, call HCPH at 419-668-1652 Ext. 241 or a primary care doctor. HCPH offers vaccines through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. No child will be turned away if their family is unable to pay. MMR vaccines are also available for adults that are under or uninsured. For more information visit www.huroncohealth.com.

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