In just two short weeks, the measles outbreak in Ohio has grown rapidly, now totaling 81 cases, a staggering 37% rise.
The lead health official in the outbreak area stated that vaccine hesitancy is the primary cause of this spread. Most of those infected were old enough to receive their MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) shot – which has a 97% success rate at preventing measles.
Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts, the Columbus Public Health Commissioner, told The Journal of the American Medical Association that parents who refuse to vaccinate their children do so due to a misunderstanding – believing vaccines cause autism.
“We’re sounding the alarm that if your child is of age and not vaccinated, they should get vaccinated ASAP.”
Measles is so contagious that 9 out of 10 people exposed to it will become infected. Health departments have forecasted that this outbreak, which commenced in November, will persist for at least a few months.
Roberts reported that the hospitalized children have exhibited signs such as dehydration, diarrhea, and pneumonia. The condition for some has been so severe they’ve had to be placed in the intensive care unit.
Measles infections can be dangerous, resulting in a rash and fever that may exceed 104 F. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control warn of possible swelling in the brain, potentially leading to brain damage or even death.