As the nation sees more measles outbreaks, the Belmont County Health Department says it’s completely preventable, and they’ve got vaccine on hand for people of all ages.
They say the measles virus was nearly eradicated several years ago, except for a few pockets of people like the old order Amish.
In fact, they say many younger doctors have never seen a case.
But they noted that as anti-vaccine sentiment grows, so do the numbers of measles cases.
And health officials say one or two out of every 1,000 people who get measles will die from it.
At the Belmont County Health Department, they say it’s important to get the vaccine at the recommended times.
The first shot should be given between the age of 12 and 15 months, and the second should be given between age four and six.
They say measles has a number of unpleasant symptoms, not just an itchy rash.
They say it starts with a runny nose, then a rash spreads from the head to the rest of the body, often accompanied by fever, diarrhea and ear infection.
They say 20 million people a year get measles, and 146,000 die from it.
For those who want to opt out of the vaccine and hope for the best, they say it’s not a safe gamble because the virus is expremely contagious.
Linda Mehl, RN, nursing director of the Belmont County Health Department, says the patient is often contagious even before they know they’re sick.
She says it is spread by tiny airborne droplets that can survive on surfaces for two hours after the patient has left the room.
And she says 90% of those who are not vaccinated and who are exposed to measles will get it.
She says children need to show proof of their MMR vaccine in order to enter kindergarten in Ohio.
However it is possible to opt out of the shots for medical or philosophical reasons.
But Mehl notes that the American Academy of Pediatricts, the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health all recommend getting the vaccine.