Measles outbreak out of control in Ohio?

No cases have been reported in Huron County.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jun 12, 2014

 

The state's measles cases have spread from north-central Ohio to southwestern Ohio, a development that has state health officials worried that an already fast-moving outbreak is spinning out of their control.

Huron County Health Commissioner Tim Hollinger said no cases have been reported in Huron County. Local doctors or hospital officials would report cases to the department.

As a precaution, county health officials have been vaccinating the southern portion of the county's Mennonite population. Hollinger said the measles have been spreading in the Mennonite and the Amish populations.

"That's why we want to get down to our population and get as many of them vaccinated as we (can)," Hollinger said.

Hollinger added his department has been providing vaccines to that population ever since the outbreak started about a month ago.

The vaccine also is available at the health department, 180 Milan Ave., Norwalk, for those who haven't been vaccinated and don't have means to pay. If the person has private insurance, county health officials will bill the company, Hollinger said. Call 419) 668-1652 and wait for a prompt for the medical division.

The vaccine is being provided by the Ohio Department of Health. People can call their pediatrician's office if they don't recall whether they received a vaccine, Hollinger said.

"Those are permanent records."

If you've been vaccinated once, you don't need to be again, he said, if you've had the measles, that serves as your body's own immunity to the condition.

Counties affected by the outbreak are Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes, Knox, Richland, Stark and Wayne. More than half the cases are in Knox County.

As of Friday, 397 cases of measles had been reported nationwide. The last time the year-to-date tally was higher was in 1994, when there were 764 cases.

"Unvaccinated people or parents with infants too young to be vaccinated should consider not traveling to areas where measles outbreaks are occurring," said Mary DiOrio, state epidemiologist with the Ohio Department of Health.

The worrisome case involves a 6-month-old Amish girl in Highland County who traveled with her family last month to one or more counties where 297 people were infected as of Tuesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The case still lacks confirmation by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but is "more than likely measles," said Highland County Health Commissioner Jim Vanzant. The two-dose measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is not given to children younger than 1 year.

Measles symptoms usually appear seven to 18 days after exposure and include a fever followed by a cough, a runny nose and a red, blotchy rash on the face that spreads down the neck and body over several days. The disease is most contagious four days before and four days after the rash appears and can be deadly for babies and young children.

Measles cases are at a 20-year high in the United States, driven largely by the outbreak among unvaccinated Amish populations in Ohio.

"There are several Amish communities in and around Highland County. ... (Measles) will probably be a problem there," said Melanie Amato, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Health.

On Monday, the health department dedicated more people to the outbreak investigation, including liaisons to work with county health departments, said Sietske de Fijter, chief of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases for the state.

That day, Gov. John Kasich also signed an emergency order allowing pharmacists to administer the MMR vaccine to people 18 years or older.

Vanzant said the Highland County Health Department holds immunization clinics every Monday that include the MMR vaccine. And mobile clinics visit sites throughout the county, including Amish communities, four times a month.

"If you're not immunized, you're probably going to get (measles)," Vanzant said.

Jessica White of The Columbus Dispatch (MCT) and Reflector staff writer Aaron Krause contributed to this story

Comments

DanielHolida

Vaccinate your freaking kids. There is no reason not to (unless they're allergic of course), and it's extremely irresponsible not to.

Tippythehippy's picture
Tippythehippy

hmmm but go figure people who are vaccinated are still getting the diseases. How long did we all expect these vaccines and antibiotics to work before they became resistant?

DanielHolida

A brand new vaccine that is specifically targeted for a certain strain of a disease will still not be 100% effective. Other factors play a role such as age, diet, etc. Nothing becomes "resistant" to vaccines/antibiotics- however certain strains of diseases can mutate/evolve to interact differently with the cells in our body.

theunknownmessanger

well they have been working for about 100 years...in the mid 1800's thousands of children and older adults were being crippled and dieing from diseases like the measles,polio,mumps etc...these vaccines wont always work on everyone but the percentage of people it does help, out numbers those it don't 100 to 1. i don't care about your religion or your beliefs i care about my kids not having their lives destroyed by diseases that have been made almost extinct. to have these diseases coming back all because of a small majority of ignorant religious idiots or government conspiracy groups just sickens me. not immunizing your children should be a crime, how is it any different from not feeding them.

sandijunebug

Thanks to the people who decided not to vaccinate their children, plus the Amish community should also have to vaccinate, or not work anywhere other than their own communities. Sorry but this isn't fair to the parents and people who try to do the right thing. When we started school you were required to have all your shots. What happened to this?. Need to rethink this idea. Awful