COLUMBUS, Ohio — An extensive effort remains underway to contain a measles outbreak that originated in the Columbus area. Local health departments are working with Nationwide Children's Hospital to make sure vaccines are getting into the arms that need them and the Ohio Department of Health to process tests.
Ross County Health Commissioner Garrett Guillozet confirmed one measles case in his jurisdiction and they are monitoring a list of close contacts for a total of 21 days. That's because the CDC says that's how long it can take symptoms to develop.
There's also help for those who were exposed -- and not vaccinated.
“It's called IMIG. It's a shot treatment for those specifically exposed to measles who have not been vaccinated. It's a treatment that needs to be provided within 72 hours of the exposure,” Guillozet explained.
Guillozet said they are working with Nationwide Children's Hospital to administer those shots.
"We do have a list of contacts that were potentially exposed, and we have contacted those individuals and continue our daily monitoring with them for the 21 days post the initial exposure day,” he explained. "Fortunately, with our case, we did not have any public exposure. So that is excellent news. It really does limit the exposure to the general public at this time. But we have contacted those individuals that have been identified as a close contact."
ODH is also helping Ross and Franklin County Public Health departments with case investigations and contact tracing. According to a spokesperson, the ODH lab is handling testing and has extended its hours to include weekends to keep up with demand.
On Friday the latest case count on the Columbus Public Health measles dashboard was 50. Twenty of those required hospitalization.
Doctors say the most common complications from measles are diarrhea and ear infections. More serious complications include swelling of the brain and pneumonia, which is the leading cause of pediatric measles-related deaths.
“If you are a parent or guardian, who has a child that has not been vaccinated with their first dose, we highly encourage you to reach out to your provider, your local health department to make sure that that vaccine is available and then you get that as quickly as possible," Guillozet said.
According to the CDC -- as of November 24 there were 55 cases across the country.
There were a total of 49 cases in the U.S. in 2021. In 2019 there were more than 1,200 cases, the greatest number in the U.S. since 1992. And going back to 2014 there were 667 cases nationally. Ohio had 382 confirmed cases that year.