(News/Talk 1480 WHBC) – A young adult from Stark County is Ohio’s first measles case of 2019.
The Ohio Department of Health says the individual recently traveled to a state with confirmed measles cases.
This is the first confirmed measles case in Ohio since 2017 when there was one case.
Officials say additional information about the individual will not be released.
The department of health says Ohio occasionally sees measles cases as the result of importations from other countries where measles remains a problem.
28 states, including many neighboring states, already have measles cases, with several having confirmed measles outbreaks.
Previously, Ohio’s last confirmed measles outbreak was in 2014, with 382 confirmed cases.
“Vaccinations save lives, period. I urge everyone who can, to get vaccinated,” said ODH Director Amy Acton.
“Vaccination is the safest, most effective way to prevent serious vaccine-preventable diseases in children and adults, including measles.”
Kirkland Norris, Health Commissioner of the Stark County Health Department couldn’t agree more with Acton.
“One thing is really important – vaccination is critical. We are lucky to have a high vaccination rate in Stark County and Ohio, so the vast majority of the public is protected,” Norris said.
Measles is extremely contagious and can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.
If one person has measles, up to 90 percent of those who come into contact with that person and who are not immune will also become infected.
The measles virus can live for up to two hours in air where an infected person coughed or sneezed.
Measles is still common in many parts of world, and large outbreaks are currently occurring in Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Ukraine, and the Philippines.
Travelers with measles bring the disease into U.S. where it can spread in communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.
Those planning international travel are encouraged to contact their healthcare providers to ensure they are fully protected against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.