December 22, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
42°F
 

Vaccine urged amid measles outbreak

MEDINA — An outbreak of measles in central Ohio has prompted Medina County health officials to warn residents to get vaccinated if they aren’t already immunized.

An outbreak of measles in Knox and Holmes counties has prompted health officials around the region to encourage residents to get immunized against the virus.

“Immunization is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from this highly contagious respiratory disease,” Medina County Health Commissioner Krista Wasowski said. “When fully administered, the vaccine is 97 percent effective in preventing the measles.”

Measles symptoms appear one to three weeks after a person is exposed to the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, rash and pink eye.

The vaccine usually is given to children as a combination to prevent measles, mumps and rubella, known as the MMR vaccine. In the United States, two doses are recommended for children, the first 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 have not had measles or been vaccinated are at high risk and should get at least one dose of the vaccine, the Health Department recommended.

Adults at high risk, including college students, those who work in a hospital or medical facility, international travelers or women of childbearing age, are encouraged to get two doses of the vaccine. The Health Department urges residents to contact your doctor to make sure you and your family members have been fully vaccinated.

According to Knox County health officials, the outbreak there includes 13 suspected cases in the northern part of the county.

Four people who traveled to the Philippines on a humanitarian trip were infected and brought the disease back to Ohio. In the Philippines, an outbreak of the disease has led to more than 20,000 cases of measles and at least 50 deaths, according to the Medina County Health Department.

The department said the other suspected cases are family members of the four travelers. The confirmed cases include people ranging in age from 2 to 48 years old.

In addition to the measles outbreak, a mumps outbreak that started in January in the Columbus area already has 260 cases. More than half of those cases are traced to an outbreak at the Ohio State University.