Health Officials Concerned About Growing Number Of Measles Cases

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There is a growing concern in central Ohio as cases of infectious disease continue to climb every day.

And it's that same, standard, but very important message: get vaccinated if you or your children are not already.  And if you do show signs of either the mumps or measles virus, isolate yourself and stay home.

With schools letting out soon and the summer months approaching, there's an even greater push to keep people safe and protected.

Dr. Mary DiOrio is the state epidemiologist with the Ohio Health Department.  She is especially concerned with the recent measles outbreak in north central Ohio, which can be very dangerous for kids, causing a rash and other symptoms.

She says getting children vaccinated is essential to stopping its spread.  But people must also be aware when they travel.

"Not only is measles in certain parts of Ohio, but there are measles in other parts of the world.  If people take really nice trips to different areas of the world, they should always be checking and seeing what kind of vaccinations they need for those special trips as well,” says DiOrio.

Health officials hope the recent outbreaks of mumps and measles become contained with the end of the school year, but summertime presents its own challenges, especially with summer camps.

Dennis Elliott is with the American Camp Association, accrediting camps across the country for the past 70 years.  He says standard procedure is to have parents fill out a health history form, indicating all vaccinations of their kids. Then, when the camp starts, all kids are screened, to see if everything is okay and during the camp, counselors are continually on guard, looking for any possible signs of contagious diseases.

"Kids are all living at camp close together (and) something could go through pretty quickly.  We want to be sure they come to us healthy and we send them home healthy,” says Elliot.

Meanwhile, the outbreak is also top of mind for the Columbus Health Department, which is dealing with the mumps outbreak in Franklin County.