Bellefontaine Examiner

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HEALTH BOARD: Summer travelers advised of Ohio measles outbreak

Several additional pertussis cases reported locally

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Logan County Health District nursing staff advised area residents during the Wednesday afternoon board of health meeting to be cautious when making their summer travel plans following a measles outbreak in Eastern Ohio.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio is now part of the largest measles outbreak in the U.S. since 1994. A total of 368 cases of the illness have now been reported in nine different counties, largely to unvaccinated individuals.  

The county with the largest number of cases — 195 — is Knox County, and second largest is Holmes County with 55 cases, as reported on today ODH Web site, www.odh.ohio.gov. The highly contagious viral respiratory disease was brought to Ohio by a group of Amish travelers to the Philippines, and the illness continues to impact the Amish population in Eastern Ohio.

Cindy Mabrey, assistant director of nursing, said no measles cases have been reported in Logan County, and the LCHD has hosted several measles, mumps and rubella immunization clinics for the Amish community in Belle Center.

While the MMR vaccine is about 97 percent effective in preventing the measles, infants younger than 1 are too young to receive the vaccine, and they are the most vulnerable to serious complications. Parents are encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider prior to traveling with an infant to an area affected by the outbreak.

Also related to infectious diseases, Ms. Mabrey reported that several additional pertussis cases have recently been reported in Logan County.

Since May, a total of 15 local cases have been confirmed, with 12 of the cases tied to the original outbreak with Bellefontaine City Schools students.

Pertussis is also known as whooping cough because of the “whooping” sound that is made when gasping for air after a fit of coughing making it hard to breathe. Coughing fits because of pertussis infection can last for up to 10 weeks or more.

To protect against the illness, children receive the DTap vaccine as infants and before entering kindergarten, and the Tdap booster vaccine is recommended for pre-teens, teens and adults.

In environmental health matters, members heard from a neighbor of a property at 8866 State Route 368, Huntsville, about the fire and safety hazards that exist at the home, which has been vacant for about two years following the death of the property owner.

 

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