A measles outbreak in Columbus, Ohio has sickened more than a dozen unvaccinated children, local officials said, and have called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for assistance.
According to Columbus Public Health, there are 19 confirmed cases tied to 12 different schools or daycare locations. Nine children have been hospitalized.
“All facilities are actively working with Columbus Public Health and following our guidance,” said Kelli Newman, a spokesperson for Columbus Public Health.
Newman said 18 of the children are under the age of 4, and one child is 6 years old. None of them are vaccinated.
When the outbreak was first reported last week, there were only four children with confirmed cases, tied to one daycare facility.
Newman said she expects a small CDC team to arrive by the end of the month. Both CDC and officials at Columbus Public Health are encouraging parents to make sure their children are up to date on their immunizations, including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
According to CDC, the primary goal for its team will be to help local authorities better understand how the measles cases are being spread. CDC will also help support efforts to identify areas of low Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage to determine where to target enhanced vaccination education and outreach, an agency spokeswoman said.
Measles is extremely contagious, and it can be very serious, especially for babies and young children. The CDC recommends children receive the MMR vaccine in two doses: first between 12 months and 15 months of age and a second between 4 and 6 years old.
The measles vaccine is very effective, with two doses about 97 percent effective at preventing the disease. According to the most recent federal data, more than 90 percent of children in the U.S. have been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella by age 2.