With measles hitting a 20-year-high nationally, in large part due to an outbreak right here in Ohio, parents are reminded to make sure their children's immunizations are up to date.
According to published reports, the last time the measles cases spiked this high was in 1994. In addition to Ohio, numerous cases have been reported in New York and California. Many of Ohio's more than 100 cases have occurred in Knox County where there exists a significant Amish population. But, health officials warn a breakout of this size puts the general population at risk.
Luckily, while several of these cases required hospitalization, no deaths have been reported in this latest round of cases. But measles can be deadly, and that's why the Centers for Disease Control advise children to receive the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine.
Officials say it's especially important to be vaccinated when traveling abroad. Still, many parents opt not to have children immunized for religious or philosophical reasons.
Doing so puts people at risk. Measles, also called rubeola, can lead to ear infections, pneumonia and even death. The CDC calls measles the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses. The CDC recommends the MMR vaccine be given to children in two doses, the first at 12 to 15 months of age, the second 4 weeks later or at least before the start of kindergarten.
Locally, families have options:
The Belpre City Health Department offers an immunization clinic every Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All immunizations are offered from birth to age 18, includes shots for babies, those entering kindergarten and 7th grade.
The Marietta City Health Department offers immunizations on Mondays - all vaccines on Mondays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and every first Monday 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Cost is $10 per shot and Ohio Medicaid and most insurance is accepted. No one is turned away due to inability to pay.
The Washington County Health Department also offers weekly immunizations clinics 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays. Cost is $10 per shot for childhood vaccinations or the Ohio Medical card and Anthem insurance accepted. Again, no one is turned away due to inability to pay.
In Ohio, measles aren't the only concern, there's also been an outbreak of mumps. New cases of both measles and mumps continue to be confirmed.
We urge parents to immunize on schedule to protect the health of their families and the public at large.