CINCINNATI — The health department is investigating a possible case of measles in Cincinnati, health officials said during a news conference Wednesday.
Dr. Sharon Hutchins, the Cincinnati Health Department's supervising epidemiologist, said while extremely unlikely, the department is taking the necessary precautions to notify the community and especially those who may have been in contact with the patient.
"Our intentions right now are to be very cautious and act as if this could be measles even though we are fully expecting the confirmatory testing to come back as negative," Hutchins said.
She said anyone at risk will be notified in the next 24 hours. State health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are assisting with the testing.
The health department reports the number of vaccine-preventable diseases has been on the rise in Cincinnati.
Four of the five states surrounding Ohio have reported measles cases in 2019: Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
There are no reported cases of the measles in Ohio, according to the CDC, but local health officials say the rate of the disease, and others, is increasing nationally.
There have been 1,095 cases of measles reported in 28 states between Jan. 1 and June 27 of this year, the CDC reports. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
There were 372 measles cases reported in 2018, and 120 in 2017.
According to the CDC, the majority of people who have been diagnosed with measles were unvaccinated and travelers often bring measles into the U.S.
Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus that spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. One contagious person can spread the disease to up to ten people around them, the CDC says.
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- Rash of tiny, red spots
The rash can last for a week and coughing can last for about ten days. In severe cases, measles can cause serious health complications such as pneumonia or encephalitis.
The CDC recommends children get two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine: one dose at 12-15 months, and a second dose at 4-6 years old.