Measles outbreaks continue to grow in Ohio. Here’s what you need to know about the measles vaccine and more

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A measles outbreak has occurred in central Ohio exceeded 80 cases, concentrated among unvaccinated children. According to data available Tuesday from the city of Columbus, 74 cases were in unvaccinated children, four in partially vaccinated children who had not yet received their second dose and four in children whose vaccine status was unknown. .

23 of those cases were in children younger than 1 year old, too young to be eligible for the vaccine.

In late November, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization on A major disruption in childhood measles vaccination. Nearly 40 million children worldwide missed their measles vaccine in 2021, health agencies said.

At face value, less than 100 reported cases doesn’t seem like much, especially as we grapple with other diseases, including COVID-19. Flu And RSV. But according to Dr. Steven Ablewitz, medical director of Coastal Children’s Medical Group, the current rise in measles and undervaccination of children around the world is “more than a canary in the coal mine.”

In 2019, just before the pandemic, the United States saw the most reported cases of measles since the 1990s. Most of the cases were not secured in the communities and 89% of people with measles were not vaccinated or had an unknown vaccine status.

“Ironically, the silver lining of Covid was that we had 13 cases,” Ablewitz said, referring to the CDC. Official count Measles cases in 2020. “Now that we’re starting to see this outbreak here, it’s what we were so afraid of.”

Measles has been eliminated in the United States since 2000, meaning that while there have been isolated epidemics, “The disease has not been continuously transmitted for over 12 monthsIn the decade before 1963, when the measles vaccine became available, 3 to 4 million people were infected and 48,000 were hospitalized each year.

There is one Masses of measles cases each year In the United States, small outbreaks sometimes occur in communities with lower than usual vaccination rates. And while vaccinated children and adults have little to fear about measles, vaccine uptake failures and concentrated outbreaks are once again drawing attention to what happens when infectious diseases have a chance to spread.

Ross Kadel, a professor of immunology and microbiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus of Medicine, said it is “no coincidence” that the Ohio measles outbreak is concentrated among unvaccinated children.

“If it finds itself in a predisposed population and the right conditions — which the holidays offer well — it can grow rapidly,” Kedl said.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is measles and what are its symptoms?

Measles is a highly contagious and airborne disease It causes fever, red rash, cough and red eyes. It is so contagious that 9 out of 10 people According to the CDC, those who are not protected (through vaccination or previous infection) will get it.

Symptoms usually appear Between seven and 14 days after exposureAccording to the CDC, the rash appears three to five days after the first symptoms.

Many people are at risk of complications from measles, including children under 5, adults over 20, those who are pregnant, and people with weakened immune systems.

In terms of severity, measles is “significantly higher than most viruses that we’re exposed to,” Ablewitz says.

Based on CDCAbout one in five unvaccinated people who contract measles will be hospitalized.

Skin with measles rash on it

Example of measles after three days with rash.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About the measles vaccine

Vaccination against measles is covered by either the MMR vaccine or the MMRV vaccine. Both protect against multiple diseases, including measles, mumps, and rubella, but MMRV also includes chickenpox, which is the virus that causes chickenpox. For a complete comparison between vaccines, Check out this chart from the CDC.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend All children receive two doses of the measles vaccine: One injection at 12 to 15 months and another at 4 to 6 years.

Most people in the United States have been vaccinated against measles. This protection is considered lifelong: one dose is about 93% effective, and two doses are effective About 97% effective, with a range of 67% to 100%, according to the CDC. If you don’t or are unsure of your vaccination history, contact your doctor. You He may receive another dose of the MMR vaccine If you don’t have documentation, according to the CDC.

And if you were Born before 1957 — Regardless of your vaccination status — you’re also protected from measles in the CDC’s eyes because you likely had it as a child.

What you can do about it

Vaccinated adults have little to worry about with measles. If you are in the Columbus area, Ohio Department of Health It has more information about the sites people may be on and what to do.

But if you are the parent of a young child who has missed one or both doses of the measles vaccine, contact your pediatrician as soon as possible. As the holiday season deepens as more people travel, making that phone call is especially important, Ablewitz said.

This applies not only to children in the United States, but to people living in all countries.

“For three years, we have been sounding the alarm about declining vaccination rates and increasing risks to children’s health globally,” said Efrem Tekel Lemango, UNICEF’s head of immunization. News release Previous month. We have a short window of time to urgently make up for lost ground on measles vaccination and protect all children. Now is the time for decisive action.”

The Columbus outbreak is “consistent with the next phase” when measles vaccination rates are declining, Kadel said, adding that “what’s likely to happen is you’re going to see an increase in the frequency of outbreaks.”

“It’s not a problem that needs a solution,” Kadel said. This is a solution that needs to be accepted.”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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