COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio health officials have distributed more than 11,800 doses of vaccines to try to quell recent outbreaks of measles and mumps in the state.
The state epidemiologist, Mary DiOrio, said Tuesday that around half of those measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines have been administered, according to the Associated Press.
There have been 68 measles cases reported in six counties, mostly among unvaccinated individuals in the Amish community. She says it's the largest outbreak in the U.S. since 1996.
Officials say it began with unvaccinated travelers who visited the Philippines, which has had a measles epidemic. The AP said Ohio counties reporting measles have received 11,200 of the doses.
Doctors reacted immediately. They put Ohio residents on high alert when 16 cases hit Knox County, just north of Columbus .
For those who have never experienced the measles, it starts with a fever that can get very high, followed by a cough, runny nose and red eyes. Last, a rash of tiny red spots will appear on the skin.
Children should get their first measles shot by age 2, according to doctors. A second measles shot should follow between four and six years old.
One week ago, two mumps cases were reported in Hamilton County and one in Warren County.
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Officials say the mumps outbreak that started in central Ohio in January has reached 342 cases, mostly in Franklin County. The state has sent out 640 doses to counties with mumps cases.
Doctors said mumps are contagious, and anyone who becomes infected should stay home, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and frequently wash their hands.
Mumps begins with symptoms of fever, fatigue and body aches.