Measles case confirmed in Summit County

A woman with measles holding up her hand

This article appeared on Fox 8. Read more here.

Summit County Public Health workers are investigating a single confirmed case of measles in an unvaccinated person.

The agency is now doing contact tracing, according to a Wednesday news release. The agency did not release information about the infected person or where they live.

“Our communicable disease staff is working diligently to identify and notify any potential exposures,” Donna Skoda, county health commissioner, is quoted in the release.

Residents are encouraged to receive the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR vaccine, if they don’t already have one. About 90% of unvaccinated people who are exposed to measles will get infected, according to the release.

How does measles spread?
Measles is spread by coughing, talking or being in the same room as an infected person, according to Summit County Public Health.

It takes about eight to 12 days following exposure for symptom to appear, which is usually a fever, but it may take as long as 21 days after exposure, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

People infected with measles are contagious from four days before the rash appears to four days after. The virus can also survive on surfaces for up to two hours.

People who have had measles before are permanently immune to the virus.

What are the symptoms of measles?
The initial symptoms of measles are a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by a rash typically spreading from the head to the rest of the body.

The measles rash appears about two to three days after the fever.

People with measles symptoms should call their doctor or clinic. They may need to come in for a visit. Clinic or doctor’s office visitors should call ahead to let workers know of their measles symptoms or potential exposure.

There is no specific treatment for measles, according to ODH.

How many measles cases are in Ohio?
In Ohio, a larger outbreak of dozens of cases started in October 2022, The Hill reported in January.

Most of the cases were in unvaccinated children, but six of the infected children had received at least one shot in the two-shot MMR vaccine, The Hill reported. Twenty-four of the infected children were too young to be vaccinated.

There was another outbreak in an unvaccinated community in Ohio in 2014, according to ODH.

How many measles cases are in the U.S.?
As of March 30, there have been six cases reported in five U.S. jurisdictions so far this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

There were 121 total cases reported in six jurisdictions last year, and 49 cases the year prior.

The largest measles outbreak in the U.S. since 1992 happened in 2019, when more than 1,200 cases were confirmed in 31 states.

Since the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, there have been only about 100 cases reported each year nationwide, according to ODH.

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