Measles cases continue to rise in central Ohio, with total cases hitting 74 this week, up from about 50 reported last week, according to Columbus Public Health.
Of the 74 reported cases, all have occurred in children and adolescents, with 69 cases among those younger than 5 years (18 cases in those ages 3-5 years, 33 cases in those ages 1-2 years, and 18 cases in those ages 12 months and younger), and five cases among those ages 5 to 17. Cases are evenly split between boys and girls.
Of note, 26 people have been hospitalized, and none have died.
No cases have been reported in fully vaccinated children, while 69 have occurred in those unvaccinated for measles, and four cases have occurred among children who received one dose of vaccine. One case has “unknown vaccination status.”
“Some cases may not have been eligible for any doses [of vaccine],” Columbus Public Health noted alongside their surveillance data.
But in a follow-up email to MedPage Today, Kelli Newman, director of public affairs and communications at Columbus Public Health wrote, “Our investigation has found that the majority of cases (56 cases) are old enough for at least one dose of MMR, but their parents have chosen not to have them vaccinated.”
“Unfortunately, we are not seeing an uptick in MMR vaccine uptake despite the outbreak, and we do anticipate that cases will continue to grow before it begins to subside,” Newman noted.
“Many of these children have been very sick and required hospitalization. We’ve had 26 hospitalizations so far, which is a reminder that measles is a very serious disease and can make children very sick,” she added. “Children can suffer a variety of complications, including dehydration, pneumonia, and neurological conditions like encephalitis.”
Measles vaccine eligibility does not begin until 12 months of age, according to the CDC.
Children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine (designed to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella), with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. They may also get the MMRV vaccine, which includes varicella (chickenpox), at ages 12 months to 12 years.
Columbus Public Health listed five exposure sites where infected persons were in contact with the public. These include a Dollar Tree store, two department stores at a mall, a church, and a grocery store. Specific times within 2 hours are noted on the city’s website.
“If you were at one of these locations during these times — and you are unvaccinated, we urge you to watch for signs and symptoms of measles and contact your health care provider if you are sick,” the agency advised.
The agency also noted that symptoms can begin to develop up to 21 days after exposure.
Kate Grusich, a public affairs specialist at the CDC, told MedPage Today that the CDC is aware of the outbreak.
“A small CDC team is currently in central Ohio to assist on the ground with the investigation,” Grusich wrote in an email. “The primary goal … is to help the local jurisdictions better understand how the measles cases are spreading among unvaccinated children. CDC will also help support efforts to identify areas of low MMR vaccination coverage to determine where to target enhanced vaccination education and outreach.”
The CDC is working with state and local health authorities to notify potentially exposed residents, “making sure they are vaccinated and helping any community members who may have been exposed [to] understand the signs and symptoms of measles infection,” Grusich added.
Ingrid Hein is a staff writer for MedPage Today covering infectious disease. She has been a medical reporter for more than a decade. Follow
Source : MedPageToday