DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Clark County Combined Health District announced its first case of measles in over 20 years on Thursday, December 15.

According to the press release by CCCHD, this marks the first case of the disease the county has seen in over two decades. This recent outbreak began in Ohio in mid-October.

“This is an old disease and concerning because not a lot of people have experience with this disease,” said Assistant Health Commissioner Chris Cook Clark County Combined Health District.

Cook says the patient is a young child who’s not eligible to receive a vaccine due to age. They believe they were exposed to a positive case from Columbus.

Since then, 77 cases of measles have been recorded statewide. 72 of the cases were unvaccinated. 25 children have been hospitalized.

Measles is extremely contagious, the release states, but can often be prevented with vaccines. The release says a two-dose MMR vaccine can provide protection that is 97% effective.

“Unvaccinated individuals are at risk of infection and severe disease,” the release said. “With the risk for community spread, parents are encouraged to make sure their children are up to date on all childhood immunizations, including the MMR vaccine. Ninety percent of unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to measles will become infected, and about one in five people who get measles will be hospitalized with symptoms including pneumonia, dehydration, or brain swelling.”

Anyone who has measles symptoms should call their doctor or a clinic and they will let the patient know if they need to come in for a visit.

Initial symptoms include the following:

  • high fever
  • cough
  • runny eyes
  • rash

These symptoms will then be followed by a rash that can spread from the head to the rest of the body. It can take 8 to 12 days from the exposure that the first symptom may appear, followed by the rash two days later. Right now, Cook says his attention is turning to Ohio’s youngest residents who need protection from measles.

“There are kids who can’t get vaccinated yet, they’re not 1-year-old and can’t get a vaccine,” said Cook. “The best way to protect them are the people around you, siblings, parents, other folks at schools, daycares that are over age 1, get them protected so they can’t transmit it to the kids who can’t get it yet.”

To make an appointment for a measles vaccine, call 937-390-5600.