At least 82 children in Ohio infected with measles, more than half of them unvaccinated babies and toddlers

At least 82 children in Ohio infected with measles, more than half of them unvaccinated babies and toddlers

Measles is spreading among children in Ohio two months after cases were first discovered. As of Thursday morning, there were at least 82 cases of measles in central Ohio, officials said, all of them children.

Columbus Public Health first announced an investigation into the Nov. 9 outbreak after four confirmed cases of measles were linked to a Franklin County children’s facility. All of those cases were among unvaccinated children who did not travel, officials said, while Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts urged parents to vaccinate their children.

By the end of the month, the cases are related to a few more pagesincluding Polaris Mall, a church and a grocery store.

The number has since risen sharply, and as of Thursday morning, Columbus Public Health reported at least 82 cases, including 32 hospitalizations. All of these cases are among children aged 17 and under, and almost 94% of these cases have infected infants, babies and children up to 5 years of age, according to health data. No children have died in the outbreak so far.

So far, all the children affected by the outbreak appear to be at least partially unvaccinated, meaning they have only received one of the two doses required for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, known as MMR, although four children still have unknown vaccination status. For children, the first dose is recommended between 12 and 15 months of age, and the second between 4 and 6 years of age.

Measles symptoms — usually a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes — appear within a week or two of coming into contact with the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with rashes appearing three to five days after they start.

But “measles is not just a small rash,” CDC says. Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children.

The MMR vaccine is critical in preventing the spread of measles, as 90% of unvaccinated people exposed to the virus will become infected, Columbus health officials have warned. About 1 in 5 people with measles end up in the hospital.

An epidemic has already broken out in Ohio surpassed cases reported to the CDC in 2020 and 2021 combined and appears to account for the majority of cases nationwide in 2022.

dr. Shannon Dillon, a primary care pediatrician at Riley Children’s Health in Indiana, he told CBS News this week that most outbreaks seen in the past decade were “clustered in unvaccinated people.”

“It’s hard to say what this one is going to do at this point because it seems like it’s still early,” she said. “…Anytime you have a group of unvaccinated people who tend to associate with each other, there’s always a chance that it’s going to spread pretty quickly.”

Misinformation about vaccines and a lack of primary care providers have made many parents hesitant to vaccinate their children against viruses like measles, she said. Vaccines remain “one of the most important things” that can be done to prevent the spread of disease.

“Things like measles caused the death of millions of children around the world before a vaccine was available. And these are very safe vaccines,” Dillon said. “The measles vaccine has been available since 1963 and really has had to change very little since then. So we have decades worth of data showing how safe it is – and that’s something you should feel comfortable talking about if you have questions with your regular doctor child.”

#children #Ohio #infected #measles #unvaccinated #babies #toddlers

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