Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles starts with fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.
Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.
The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.
Children may also get MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.
Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of these, approximately 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC; of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles. Since then, widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era. However, measles is still common in other countries. Unvaccinated people continue to get measles while abroad and bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others.
CDC recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine:
Story in the Columbus Dispatch on May 18, 2017
The Columbus Dispatch also carried the story. This is an excerpt.
Minnesota health officials link the high numbers of unvaccinated Somali children in their state with an aggressive campaign by anti-vaccine advocates several years ago that targeted Somali parents, saying that vaccinating their children would cause autism.
“This could happen in any community that is given misinformation,” said Jose Rodriguez, spokesman for Columbus Public Health.
Hassan Omar, executive director of the Somali Community Association of Ohio, said the community understands there are health risks. He said he hopes these events help to educate people, as well as break any stereotypes that residents might have about Somalis.
“Everybody is worried about this,” Omar said. “We don’t want there to be a stigma. We’re Americans, we’re Midwestern. We have children that are all up-to-date for vaccinations.”
The last large measles outbreak in Ohio occurred in 2014, when there were hundreds of cases in Ashland, Coshocton, Crawford, Highland, Holmes, Knox, Richland, Stark and Wayne counties.
Measles cases then were at a 20-year high in the United States, driven largely by the outbreak among unvaccinated Amish populations in Ohio.
See full story at the Columbus Dispatch.