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Health, Science & Environment

Columbus health officials list three locations of possible measles exposure

MMR — the modern combination vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella — provides stronger, longer-lasting protection against measles than the stand-alone measles vaccine typically given in the U.S. in the early 1960s.
Eric Risberg
/
AP
MMR — the modern combination vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella — provides stronger, longer-lasting protection against measles than the stand-alone measles vaccine typically given in the U.S. in the early 1960s.

The central Ohio Measles outbreak that began in June continues to grow with 46 confirmed cases, all among unvaccinated children.

Nineteen cases have required hospitalization. More than half of cases have occurred in children between the ages of 1 and 2.

"The message is clear. If you have a child who is 12 months of age and older and has not received their MMR vaccine, please make every effort you can do to get them vaccinated this week," Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said.

Dr. Roberts on Wednesday shared three locations where measles-infected individuals may have spread the disease:

  • Meijer, 6175 Sawmill Road - Saturday, 11/19/22 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Jesus Power Assembly of God, 5215 Cleveland Ave. - Sunday, 11/20/22 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • Polaris Mall – Macy’s & JCPenney stores, 1500 Polaris Parkway - Friday, 11/25/22 from 6:30-10:30 p.m. (The family involved in this case did not visit the food court or children’s play area.)

Unvaccinated individuals who were at any of these locations and times do not necessarily need to get tested, Dr. Roberts said.

"If you develop symptoms, you need to be mindful of sharing with your healthcare provider that you could have been exposed to measles, because you were in one of the locations and that you should get tested. The testing cannot be done on someone who's asymptomatic," she said.

Dr. Matthew Washam with Nationwide Children's Hospital said the most common signs and symptoms of measles are fever, cough, runny nose and oftentimes red eyes or conjunctivitis.

"Several days after onset of symptoms, a very characteristic rash develops starting on the face extending to the trunk and then to the lower extremities and upper extremities," Dr. Washam said. "It is at that time that children tend to be most sick. It is at that time that children tend to be most contagious."

Last week, Columbus Public Health launched an online dashboard to track daily case numbers.

Dr. Roberts says case numbers will likely continue to grow.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a total of 55 measles cases have been reported nationally as of last week.

Health, Science & Environment
Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.