By Stacy Kess
More than 50 new cases of measles were reported over the last two weeks, while only 12 new cases of mumps were reported during that same time, according to new Ohio Department of Health data released Friday.
The Delaware General Health District, which reports 40 identified cases of mumps, has not seen any new cases of mumps in a month and has not seen any cases measles affecting neighboring counties in Delaware County.
Nine counties are now part of the measles outbreak affected 341 Ohioans; 191 of those cases are in Knox County where the outbreak began in April after a religious group returned with the infection from a trip the the Philippines. Seventeen counties are among those reporting mumps to the Ohio Department of Health — 432 cases in all since the outbreak began at The Ohio State University early this year.
Indiana and North Carolina are also each reporting a cases related to the OSU outbreak, according to data from Columbus Public Health.
ODH State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio said the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) is an important part of stopping the spread of the two viruses now affecting much of Ohio.
“We believe it’s important to do whatever we can to get Ohioans vaccinated,” she said.
As of June 3, ODH has sent 16,600 doses of MMR to local health departments, 11,000 of which have been administered. She also asked for primary health care providers to ensure their patients are up-to-date on MMR — a two-dose vaccine normally administered before a child begins primary school.
Pharmacists in Ohio are now also authorized to administer MMR under a 90-day order from Gov. John Kasich.
Measles is highly contagious, DiOrio said, and those who are unvaccinated are likely to catch the virus. The Ohio measles outbreak is now the largest in the U.S. since 1994, according to ODH.
Reporter Stacy Kess can be found on Twitter @StacyMKess.