Last updated: May 14. 2014 6:22PM - 83 Views
Kay Benick, RN, BSN, Director of Nursing Morrow County Health Department

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The number of measles cases linked to a Central Ohio outbreak has increased to 54 in 6 Ohio counties. There are now 334 reported mumps cases in 15 Ohio counties linked to a separate outbreak that began in Central Ohio.

Measles and mumps are contagious diseases primarily spread when respiratory droplets containing the virus are coughed or sneezed into the air. Because the diseases are easily spread from person to person, the best way to protect against measles and mumps is to receive the MMR (or measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

Most of the cases of measles and mumps being reported to the Ohio Department of Health have been in people who have not gotten any MMR vaccines or have not completed their series of MMR vaccines.

A community MMR immunization clinic will be held Wednesday, May 14, at the Northmor Schools cafetorium. The clinic will run from 3:30 to 6 pm and is open to the public. MMR vaccine will also be offered at the Morrow County Health Department on Wednesday, May 21 from 4 to 7 pm. A MMR vaccination clinic will also be held for the Amish community on May 13. There is no charge for the MMR vaccine at these clinics.

The health department held community MMR vaccination clinics on April 30 at Cardington-Lincoln Elementary School, and on May 5 at Highland High School, vaccinating over 80 community members.

People in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s may be unprotected against measles and mumps today because those born before 1987 were not required to get a second dose of MMR vaccine for school. Two doses of vaccine are needed to develop a full immune response. Those born before 1957 likely developed immunity from exposure to measles and mumps.

The MMR vaccine is recommended for all children at age 12 through 15 months, with a second (or booster) dose at age 4 through 6 years. Adults with no evidence of immunity should get 1 dose of MMR unless the adult is in a high-risk group. High-risk individuals including healthcare personnel, international travelers, and students at post-high school educational institutions, should get 2 doses. Pregnant women should not get the MMR vaccine but should talk with their doctor immediately if they have been exposed.

Public Health Nurses at the Morrow County Health Department are available Monday through Thursday from 7:15 AM to 5:00 PM to answer questions, review shot records and evaluate any needed immunizations. Appointments for immunizations are required and can be made by calling (419)947-1545 ext.: 327.

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