Ohio Confirmed 70% of Measles Cases in 2022
When the World Health Organization (WHO) reported nearly forty million children were susceptible to the measles virus in November 2022, few people suspected Ohio would be on the outbreak watch list.
However, the City of Columbus Health Department recently reported its 82nd pediatric measles case.
Of these children, 77 were unvaccinated and unprotected from the very-contagious measles virus.
Unfortunately, as of December 27, 2022, 32 patients had to be hospitalized during this measles outbreak.
While Columbus's measles outbreak pales compared to most global outbreaks, it represents about 70% of all cases confirmed this year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The last substantive measles outbreak in the U.S. was in 2019.
While international travelers can check the CDC's Travel Health Notices to search for measles outbreaks that may affect travelers' health, the CDC does not issue travel advisories for individual U.S. states.
Worldwide, the CDC reported India leads other countries this year with over 11,000 confirmations.
The CDC does suggest that all travelers to outbreak areas, including infants and preschool-aged children, should be fully vaccinated against measles, according to the 2022 immunization schedule.
Various measles vaccines, such as MMR-II and Priorix, are listed on this Vax-Before-Travel webpage.
Around 90% of people who are not protected will become infected following exposure to the measles virus, says the CDC. Symptoms usually begin 7-14 days after you've been infected.
The WHO's recent report indicated 25 million children missed their first vaccine dose, and an additional 14.7 million children missed their second dose.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus comments in a press release on November 22, 2022, "Getting immunization programs back on track is absolutely critical. Behind every statistic in this report is a child at risk of a preventable disease."
Under the WHO's Immunization Agenda 2030 global immunization strategy, international immunization partners remain committed to supporting investments in strengthening surveillance to detect outbreaks quickly, respond with urgency, and immunize all children who are not yet protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky comments, "Measles outbreaks illustrate weaknesses in immunization programs."
"But public health officials can use outbreak response to identify communities at risk, understand causes of under-vaccination, and help deliver locally tailored solutions to ensure vaccinations are available to all."
In the U.S., measles vaccines are generally available at clinics and pharmacies.
Disclosures: The CDC or WHO disclosed no industry conflicts of interest.