Ohio Department of Health pushes MMR vaccines for graduates

CINCINNATI -- The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) wants to celebrate recent high school and college graduates by reminding them to stay up to date on vaccinations and make them aware immunizations are the most effective way to prevent illness from vaccine-preventable diseases.

More than 160 cases of measles has been reported in Ohio and ODH says the recent outbreak serves as a reminder to all Ohioans these diseases can be stopped if people are vaccinated.

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is 97 percent effective in preventing the measles when individuals are fully vaccinated.

“With high school and college graduations and graduation parties leading folks to travel across our state and across the U.S., we want to remind Ohioans to keep themselves healthy at these celebrations and to make sure that they are up-to-date on their immunizations,” said ODH State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio. “We need to keep in mind that travel can present opportunities for exposure to vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles.”

So far ODH has given out more than 13,000 doses of MMR vaccine to combat the measles outbreak. Local health departments have administered 8,240 (approximately 62 percent) of these doses to date.

Symptoms for measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, sore throat and a red rash appearing three to five days after the start of the symptoms.

Chronology according to ODH:

  • May 27: More than 13,000 doses of MMR vaccine have been distributed to local health departments to date to combat the measles outbreak. Local health jurisdictions have administered 8,240 doses (62 percent) of these doses thus far
  • May 23: Number of measles cases surpasses 150 in a six-county area
  • May 13: ODH conducts a conference call with media across the state and local health jurisdictions regarding measles outbreak
  • May 8: ODH Bureau of Infectious Diseases staff members begin to provide periodic on-site assistance to affected local health jurisdictions
  • May 3: ODH develops measles guidance for school nurses in collaboration with CDC and distributes it to school nurses, Head Start Programs and local health jurisdictions
  • May 2: ODH issues measles guidance to Ohio schools
  • May 1: ODH establishes a measles homepage on its website containing an overview of the measles outbreak, links to the local health jurisdiction in each affected county, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about measles
  • May 1: ODH issues measles guidance to healthcare providers
  • April 25: ODH orders MMR vaccines for delivery to all counties that plan to hold vaccination clinics
  • April 25: CDC officially confirms Ohio’s measles cases
  • April 24: ODH, the Ashland County-City Health Department, the Knox County Health Department and the Holmes County General Health District issue a joint press release with the dates/times/ locations of MMR vaccine clinics
  • April 24: ODH and its public health partners begin regular conference calls with CDC regarding the measles  outbreak
  • April 24: ODH, Knox County Health Department and Holmes County General Health District issue a combined press release regarding the suspected measles outbreak
  • April 23: ODH alerts Ohio hospitals about the suspected measles cases
  • April 23: ODH is alerted about a possible measles outbreak in three Ohio counties

For more information about measles, visit the ODH website at http://www.odh.ohio.gov.

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