The measles epidemic in Columbus, Ohio has left more than 12 children unvaccinated and nine others hospitalized. Local public health officials have requested assistance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kelli Newman, a spokesperson from Columbus Public Health, stated in an email that “we asked the CDC to assist” and that they would send two epidemiologists at end of the month.
Thursday’s confirmation by the CDC that they are aware of the cases was a sign that the CDC is sending a small team to Ohio for assistance in the investigation.
Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson for the CDC, stated in an email that “State and local authorities are in the process to notify potentially exposed residents, make sure they are vaccinated and help any community members who might have been exposed to the signs and symptoms associated with measles infection.” Anyone who has been exposed to measles should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Only four measles cases were reported in a child-care facility when the outbreak of measles was first discovered. However, the number and complexity of the cases have increased since then.
Columbus Public Health officials have updated their investigation to include 19 confirmed and additional cases at 10 daycare centers as well as two schools, as of Friday morning.
All cases are unvaccinated children and all except one are younger than four years. Newman stated that one child is six years old.
Health officials from Franklin County Public Health and Columbus Public Health are investigating the cases and trying to trace any contacts who might have been exposed.
Columbus Public Health officials encourage parents to ensure their children have the most recent immunizations. This includes the MMR vaccine (measles, rubella, and mumps vaccine).
Experts recommend that children get the vaccine in two doses. The first should be given between 12 and 15 months old and the second between 4 to 6 years of age. A single dose of the vaccine is 93% effective in preventing measles. Two doses of the vaccine are approximately 97% effective.
In a press release, Dr. Mysheika Robs, Columbus Public Health Commissioner said that she was working hard to determine if there were any exposures and notify those who were. “The most important thing you can do to protect against measles is to get vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is safe and highly effective.”
According to Columbus Public Health, about 90% of measles-infected people will become infected if they are not vaccinated. About 1 in 5 measles cases in the US will need to be treated in a hospital.
The CDC states that over 90% of US children have been vaccinated against rubella, measles, and mumps by the age of 2.
The highly contagious measles disease can spread easily through the air. It is spread by coughing or sneezing, or when people touch the same surfaces or objects. The symptoms of measles include fever, headaches, runny noses, watery eyes, and red patches. It can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, or even death in rare cases.
Dr. David Freedman is a professor emeritus of infectious disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He was also the founder of the Travelers’ Health Clinic.
Freedman stated that in the initial days of the Covid-19 epidemic, people stayed at home, and many healthcare facilities were closed. However, many children missed routine immunizations, and may still not have received their MMR shots.
“There are many children in the country who are not getting their routine vaccines.” “So I believe the message is still, If your child is one year old or older, they should be vaccinated,” Freedman, spokesperson for the Infectious diseases Society of America.
“Measles does not occur in winter. Because it is more common in children younger than six years old, travel is less likely to affect it. He said that most adults have been vaccinated. He said that measles can be contagious. The most contagious disease that we know is measles. It is 10 times more contagious than Covid.
The history of measles and America
The United States declared measles a nationally notifiable disease in 1912. This meant that healthcare providers and labs were required to report any diagnosed cases. Each year, approximately 6,000 measles-related death were reported in the ten years that followed.
Researchers discovered the measles virus in a patient’s blood in 1950. In 1960, the virus was transformed into a vaccine. The vaccine was then licensed and used in a vaccination program.
According to the CDC, 3 million to 4,000,000 people were infected with measles in the United States each year before the vaccination program was implemented in 1963. After that, measles cases and deaths in the United States and other countries plummeted. In the United States, there were 963 reported cases in 1994 and 508 by 1996.
In 2019, the last measles outbreak in the US was reported. This was the worst measles outbreak since 2000 when the disease was declared eradicated. It involved over a thousand cases in 31 states and was the largest reported case in the US since 1992.
The widespread use of vaccines has helped to keep measles cases in America down, according to Dr. Martin Hirsch, a Harvard University professor of medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital editor of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
According to the CDC, there have been 33 cases of measles in the United States as of October 28. This is according to five US jurisdictions.
Hirsch stated that more than 90% of Americans have been vaccinated against measles. He also said that even though it is a highly transmissible disease, I don’t think we will see an increase in cases of RSV infection. Hirsch was referring to the rise in respiratory syncytial virus infections, most notably among children.
Hirsch, the spokesperson for the Infectious diseases Society of America, stated that most cases of measles in the United States are caused by people coming from countries with lower immunization rates. This is followed by transmission to Americans who have not been vaccinated. “There is always the chance that the measles virus could be spread to unvaccinated people by someone who has come into the country with the measles virus.