MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Department of Health has confirmed a young adult from Stark County has the state’s first case of measles in 2019.
This makes Ohio the 29th state that has at least one measles case.
While the infected individual lives about 200 miles from Montgomery County, Dan Suffoletto with Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health said it is a concern for our area because the virus can linger for two hours in the air.
“If people are traveling or in a confined area they can contract the disease very easily,” said Suffoletto. “So if you’re in an airplane, elevator, bus or something like that, you’re very susceptible to contracting the measles.”
If you were born before 1957, Suffoletto said you are presumed to be immune to measles, but urges anyone born after to get vaccinated.
“If you have not been vaccinated against the measles and you come into contact with measles, you are 90 percent likely to contract the measles,” said Suffoletto.
Suffoletto said it is hard for media to keep repeating the same story about measles, so that is why it’s had less national coverage lately, but that it is still an ongoing epidemic.
“You’re contagious four days before that rash appears, so people that have the measles can be out in the public, not even aware they have the measles at that point and still be contagious and spreading that virus,” said Suffoletto.
This is the first confirmed measles case in Ohio since 2017.
Previously, Ohio’s last confirmed measles outbreak was in 2014, with 382 confirmed cases.
Measles symptoms include a rash, high fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite and red, watery eyes. The rash usually lasts 5-6 days and begins at the hairline, moves to the face and upper neck, and proceeds down the body. Diarrhea and ear infections are common complications of measles. More severe complications may also occur.
Complications from measles are more common among children younger than 5 years of age, adults older than 20 years of age, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems.