DOVER (WJER) - The Tuscarawas County Health Department is continuing their awareness campaign about the measles virus and vaccine as state health officials confirm Ohio's first measles case this year out of Stark County.
Nursing Director Amy Kaser says she’s been actively recommending the MMR vaccine for at-risk residents since the CDC reported a measles outbreak in New York and Washington states, as well as confirmed cases in all states neighboring Ohio except West Virginia. Kaser says people need to check their vaccination records to make sure they are protected.
“You need at least one dose of measle vaccine unless a laboratory confirms that you have had a past measle infection or you’re immune to measles,” she says. “Certain adults may need two doses, and those are adults in high-risk areas such as healthcare professionals, if you are traveling internationally, students at post-high school education institution.”
The CDC has confirmed 1,123 measles cases this year in the United States, the highest number since the virus was declared eradicated from the county in 2000. Kaser says it’s more serious than some people might think.
“It’s more than just a rash. Measles can be very serious,” she says. “Children under the age of 5 and adults older than 20 years of age can have some complications such as pneumonia or encephalitis, and that’s an infection of the brain.”
Kaser says it can take up to two weeks after getting the MMR injection to start protecting against measles.