A measles epidemic in central Ohio is growing, sickening more than 50 children, many requiring hospitalization. Data updated Tuesday by the Columbus Department of Public Health.
None of the children were fully vaccinated against measles.
Since the start of the epidemic in November, there have been at least 58 confirmed measles cases in Columbus, Franklin, Ross and Richland counties, with 22 hospitalizations. columbus public health.
Of these cases, 55 were unvaccinated children. Her remaining three were only partially vaccinated.That is, MMR or Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines If two are required for a person to be considered fully vaccinated.
Experts recommend that children be vaccinated twice. The first between 12 and 15 months of age and the second between when she is 4 years old and when she is 6 years old. A single dose is about 93% effective in preventing measles virus exposure. Approximately 97% effective with 2 doses.
Across the United States, more than 90% of U.S. children are vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella by the age of two. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Measles can be very serious, especially for children under the age of 5,” Columbus Public Health spokeswoman Kelly Newman wrote in an email Monday.
All Columbus cases are children: 12 infants under 1 year of age, 28 infants aged 1-2 years, 13 children aged 3-5 years, and 5 children aged 6-17 years.
This represents approximately 71% of reported cases in 1-5 year olds.
Details of hospitalized measles vary, but “many children are hospitalized for dehydration,” Newman wrote. “Other serious complications include neurological diseases such as pneumonia and encephalitis. We have no way of knowing which children will get sick and will have to be hospitalized. The safe way is to make sure you get the MMR vaccine.”
According to the Columbus Public Health Department, some of the children visited grocery stores, churches, and department stores within malls while contagious. List of exposed sites.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can be spread through the air when an infected person comes into direct contact with or shares the bacteria by coughing or sneezing or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces.
“Measles can be a serious illness and can lead to complications requiring hospitalization in general, especially in young children,” said Nationwide Children’s in Columbus. Dr. Matthew Washham, medical director of epidemiology and infection control at , wrote in an email on Tuesday.
In the outbreak in Ohio, hospitalized children were seen at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
“Most children can usually recover with supportive care at home, and can receive antibiotics for less severe complications such as ear infections. , dehydration requiring intravenous fluids, pneumonia and/or croup requiring respiratory support, or, rarely, more serious complications such as encephalitis.
“The mainstay of treatment for all children with measles is supportive care,” he added. “In the hospital, this includes intravenous fluids, antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections, and respiratory support, among other supportive care. Severe measles disease lowers vitamin A levels”
The measles outbreak is “very alarming,” said Dr. Nora Colburn, an adult infectious disease physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
Colburn, who is also the medical director of clinical epidemiology at Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital at OSU Wexner Medical Center, said:
“Measles is the most contagious disease we have,” she said. “So as an infectious disease doctor, as a mother of young children, and as a member of the community, I am very concerned.”
In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, most people stayed home and some health facilities were closed, but many children did not receive routine immunizations, including the MMR vaccine. . This is true not only in America, but all over the world.
“What is of current concern is the global decline in vaccination coverage as a result of the pandemic. Dr. Sean O’Leary, chair of the Infectious Diseases Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Colorado, said.
“Measles is a highly contagious disease and seeing these declines is really worrying about the possibility of a massive outbreak,” he said. , we need to keep vaccination coverage high.”
According to Columbus Public Health, about 90% of unvaccinated people with measles become infected, and 1 in 5 people with measles in the United States are hospitalized.
The United States has been battling a surge in respiratory diseases such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and respiratory syncytial virus, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, while a measles epidemic spreads through central Ohio.
Children’s hospitals across the country are overwhelmed by this rise in respiratory infections and are bracing for the possibility of more cases during the holiday season.
“If your hospital is already overcrowded and you suddenly have to deal with measles, I can’t imagine it, because it is also a very problematic infection control situation. You need a room, everyone has to wear an N95 mask, and it’s incredibly contagious in a hospital,” said O’Leary.
“There are many risks, especially for immunocompromised patients who are admitted to children’s hospitals,” he said. “It’s a real problem.”
Nationwide Children’s Hospital confirmed in an email to CNN Tuesday that other respiratory illnesses such as influenza and RSV are surging, but can continue to care for patients.
“There is currently a surge in respiratory diseases such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus. It’s straining resources associated with public health efforts such as contact tracing, containment, education and immunization,” the hospital said in a statement. “At busy times, our hospitals are able to continue to provide care to our patients.”
Each of these respiratory illnesses can have similar symptoms, such as fever, cough, and runny nose, so it can be difficult to tell which infection a person has.
“It can be very difficult to classify which one because you can have respiratory syncytial virus, flu, Covid at the same time as the holiday, and then you have measles on top of that, and you may have fever, cough and fatigue on top of that. What is an infectious disease,” Colburn said, adding that it’s important for people with symptoms to stay home and get tested.
Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, and a rash of red spots. Rarely, it can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, or death.
“Wearing a mask, especially in crowded places, is very important, especially for immunocompromised patients. “It cannot be administered to severely immunocompromised patients or pregnant women. So everyone else should be vaccinated to cocoon these highly vulnerable people and reduce the spread of measles in our communities. that is very important.”