Ohio has not seen a case of measles in 2015, but did have 382 confirmed cases in 2014, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

In Clark County, there was 1 suspected, but not confirmed, case in 2014-15, according to Gabe Jones, epidemiologist with Clark County Combined Health District.

“Most children in a school setting have been immunized against measles,” said Patricia Free, CCCHD nursing supervisor. “Having said that, Ohio is a state where immunizations can be refused by a parent based on medical, religious or philosophical reasons, which is why there are so many of the students unvaccinated. These are typically the students that travel somewhere and get measles and bring it back to the others who have not been vaccinated as well. A vaccinated person may acquire the measles but it is unlikely in most cases.  As we all know, not every vaccine is 100% effective.”

ODH recommends people follow the CDC guidelines for immunizations, which has children between the ages of 12 to 15 months to be given the first dose and then a second dose between 4 to 6 years old, Amato said.

The New Carlisle Community Health Center offers the MMR vaccine for children. They also participate in the Vaccines for Children program that offers free vaccines for families that qualify (such as those on Medicaid or have no insurance), said Jen Hildregh, center director.

As of Feb. 6, there were 121 cases of measles reported in 17 states, according to the CDC. Most of these are tied to an outbreak that originated in Disneyland in California.

“The outbreak likely started from a traveler who became infected overseas with measles, then visited the amusement park while infectious. However, no source has been identified,” the CDC Web site says. “Analysis by CDC scientists shows that the measles virus in this outbreak is identical to the virus type that caused the large measles outbreak in the Philippines in 2014 . However, the same virus type has been identified within the past 6 months in 14 other countries and at least 6 U.S. states not associated with the current outbreak.”

If measles were to show up in Ohio, there are regulations to follow if a student showed up at school with a possible case.

“It differs for every school, but if a student with the measles shows up at school, that child should be immediately isolated and the parents and LHD should be contacted,” said Melanie Amato, Ohio Department of Health.

The Ohio Administrative Code (3701-3-13, (M)) states that “a person with measles shall be isolated, including exclusion from school or child care center, for four days following the onset of rash. Contagiousness may be prolonged in patients with altered immunity.”

Airborne isolation precautions are indicated for four days after the onset of rash in otherwise healthy individuals and for the duration of the entire illness in immunocompromised patients, Jones said. Should the student attend school prior to diagnosis, all contacts would need to provide proof of a live measles immunization on or after their first birthday or previously physician diagnosed measles disease. In an outbreak situation, demonstration of two doses of MMR would be required. Contacts who might be susceptible should be immunized with measles vaccine as soon after exposure as possible. We would screen suspect cases afterwards to see if they meet the case definition. Cases meeting the definition would be immediately reported. Samples would also be obtained if possible, Jones said.

Susceptible persons who refuse immunization would be excluded from contact in schools until 21 days after the last case had occurred. It is an Ohio school requirement that all children entering the school must have received 2 doses of MMR vaccine. All 3 vaccine components (i.e. measles, mumps, and rubella) must have been received to meet this vaccination requirement, Jones said.

For more information on measles, visit the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html.

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