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CDC helping to investigate Columbus-area measles outbreak as cases rise to 19

Columbus Public Health is investigating 19 confirmed cases of measles in children involving more child care facilities and schools.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is assisting as health officials are now investigating 19 confirmed cases of measles affecting children from nine child care centers and two schools in the Columbus area. Nine of the children were hospitalized for treatment.

Columbus Public Health said in all the cases, the children were unvaccinated against measles. All but one are less than 4 years old. One child is 6 years old.

Original reportings from Columbus Public Health listed cases with high clinical suspicion, stating that there were 24 cases of measles. That number has since been changed to read 19 confirmed cases.

RELATED: Health officials investigating 15 measles cases at 5 Columbus-area child care facilities

Four measles were first reported in June. On Nov. 9, Columbus Public Health confirmed four cases in unvaccinated children with no travel history. 

Earlier this week, health officials said they were investigating 11 additional cases of measles. 

Columbus Public Health said it is conducting contact tracing and working with facilities. 

“We asked the CDC for assistance,” said Kelli Newman, the communications director with Columbus Public Health. “They will be sending two epidemiologists at the end of the month to assist with our local investigation.”

RELATED: Health officials stress importance of staying up to date on MMR vaccines in wake of daycare outbreak

According to Columbus Public Health, 90% of unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to measles will become infected and about one in five people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized.

Columbus Public Health said measles is preventable with two doses of MMR vaccine. The vaccines are available at Columbus Public Health during regular vaccine clinic hours and at Franklin County Public Health by appointment only. 

Children also can get MMR vaccines from their pediatrician or medical home.

Measles spreads by coughing, talking or being in the same room with someone who has it. Initial symptoms of measles include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes followed by a rash that typically spread from the head to the rest of the body.

It generally takes eight to 12 days from exposure to the first symptom, which is usually fever. The rash appears usually two to three days after.

If you have these symptoms, Columbus Public Health says to call your doctor or clinic to let them know about symptoms and potential exposure before going in for a visit.

For questions, call Columbus Public Health at 614-645-1519 or Franklin County Public Health at 614-525-3791. For more information, visit Columbus Public Health’s website and Franklin County Public Health’s website.

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