Health authorities in central Ohio have detected at least 82 cases of measles in children and babies since November, surpassing cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2020 and 2021 combined.
Columbus Public Health first announced an investigation into the outbreak on November 9 after four confirmed measles cases were linked to a child care facility in Franklin County. All of those cases were among unvaccinated children with no travel history, officials said.
By the end of November, measles cases were linked to several more sites, including a shopping mall, a church and a grocery store.
Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts has urged parents to vaccinate their children. The agency said that 94% of measles cases were infants, babies and children age 5 or younger, all of whom were at least partially unvaccinated.
Health officials recommend children get their first dose of the measles-rubella vaccine (MMR) between 12 and 15 months old, and their second dose between 4 and 6 years old.
Measles symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. They appear within a week or two after contact with the virus, according to the CDC, with a rash appearing three to five days after their onset.
Further, about one in five measles patients winds up in the hospital.
“[M]easles isn’t just a little rash,” according to the CDC. “Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children.”