Ohio Reports First Measles Case Of 2019

The measles virus causes a rash, high fever, and can cause more serious complications in younger children
The measles virus causes a rash, high fever, and other symptoms. It can lead to more serious complications in younger children. [fotohay / Shutterstock]
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Amid the country’s worsening measles outbreak, Ohio is reporting the state’s first case of this year.

A young unvaccinated adult in Stark County contracted the virus and has since recovered, but not before coming into contact with some people who are believed to be unvaccinated, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s Jose Rodriguez.

Officials are monitoring those who may have been in contact with this individual and they are in self-quarantine, Rodriguez says.

Sherry Smith, Nursing Director for the Stark County Health Department, says that 92 percent of county kindergarteners in the 2018-2019 school year are up to date on their MMR vaccine. 

The measles immunization rate for Ohio is around 90 percent, according to Ohio Department of Health's Jose Rodriguez.

“A lot of other surrounding states have been seeing outbreaks, so it’s not surprising,” said Rodriguez. “We’ve been waiting for this, but it is also concerning.”

Health officials are urging parents to vaccinate their children this summer, in advance of the school year. Having high community vaccination rates is key to preventing a widespread outbreak, like the outbreak seen in Ohio in 2014 with 382 reported cases.

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the number of measles cases this year had climbed to 839 in 23 states, affecting mostly unvaccinated people. 

Rodriguez says Ohio officials are bracing for more cases this year.

“We have seen cases of measles in all of our surrounding states," Rodriguez says.

Jo Ingles contirbuted to this report from the Statehouse News Bureau.

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