More than 80 Ohio children infected in measles outbreak, most unvaccinated

More than 80 children have been infected with measles in central Ohio as an outbreak in the state continues to spread rapidly among the unvaccinated population.

The measles virus is primarily spreading around the city of Columbus and has infected at least 81 children so far, hospitalizing 29 of them, officials reported last week.

Health authorities have not reported any deaths associated with the outbreak, which began in November and started growing earlier this month into a major public health scare.

The outbreak appears to be spreading primarily among the unvaccinated. Seventy-six of the confirmed infections in Columbus were among unvaccinated children.

Physicians and local health officials have warned that misinformation and vaccine hesitancy, both of which intensified during the pandemic, have worsened the measles outbreak.

Columbus Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts said in an interview this month the outbreak began when a small number of individuals returned from a measles-endemic area and came to the city, where the virus easily spread among unvaccinated children.

“The reason why so many of our young children have been impacted by this measles outbreak is because that’s the greatest majority of our population that’s unvaccinated,” she said.

More than two-thirds of the cases confirmed so far are among children aged 1 year old to 5 years old.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the first dose of a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine for children aged 14 months to 15 months and a second dose at age 4 to age 6.

Measles is a disease caused by a highly contagious, airborne virus.

Tags Columbus Health Commissioner measles Mysheika Roberts Ohio Outbreak public health Vaccinations

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