Fox News reports that a measles outbreak is taking place in Ohio.
This is the first time that the illness has been seen in the area in 20 years. And, it appears that a failure by some individuals to get vaccinated may be the cause.
The numbers so far
According to the figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 118 measles cases were reported in 2022. But, the majority of these cases are from a recent outbreak in Ohio.
The outbreak is specifically taking place in Franklin County, which is located in central Ohio. Of the 118 measles cases reported to the CDC in 2022, 83 are from Franklin County.
Those 83 individuals who have been infected are all below the age of 18. The majority of those infected, in fact, are 5 years of age or less. Many are less than one year old.
So far, about 40% of the infected have needed to be hospitalized.
Why is it happening?
The CDC lists two common causes of a measles outbreak:
An increase in the number of travelers who get measles abroad and bring it into the U.S., and/or further spread of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.
Regarding the situation in Ohio, it appears the majority of the cases are of individuals who have not been vaccinated.
Measles likely arrived in Columbus after four unvaccinated travelers separately went to measles-endemic countries from June to October, Columbus Public Health commissioner Mysheika Roberts tells Axios.
In response, the Columbus City Health Department is urging people to get vaccinated, stating on its website:
Measles is a very contagious and serious illness. The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective at preventing measles. MMR vaccines are available at Columbus Public Health during regular vaccine clinic hours and at Franklin County Public Health by appointment only. Children also can get MMR vaccines from their pediatrician or medical home.
This is a surprising turn of events considering that the MMR vaccine has virtually eliminated measles from the United States. Over the past decade, most years have seen far fewer than 200 cases.
There have been some exceptions, though. One big exception was 2019, which saw 1,274 measles cases from 31 different states.
The CDC states:
This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992. The majority of cases were among people who were not vaccinated against measles. Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in U.S. communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.
At the moment, the Ohio outbreak is nowhere close to what happened in 2019.