By Stacy Kess
Fifty-nine cases of measles have been identified in six counties in north-central Ohio and one probable cases has been reported in Delaware County, according to numbers released by the Ohio Department of Health Friday.
Delaware General Health District spokesperson Traci Whittaker said that while lab testing has returned on the initial case in Delaware County, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ODH have recommended additional testing on the probable case. No other cases have been identified in the county.
While the measles outbreak that began in March in Knox County among an unvaccinated religious group continued to spread this week, central Ohio numbers of mumps cases also continued to climb: 34 cases have now been identified in Delaware County
Numbers reconciled from DGHD, ODH and Columbus Public Health showed 343 cases of mumps have been identified around Ohio in the outbreak across 15 counties, including 283 in Franklin County.
Both viral infections are preventable with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), which is considered 98 to 99 percent effective in preventing measles and about 90 percent effective in preventing mumps when both childhood doses are given.
“Immunization is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said ODH State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio. “In addition, to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, such as mumps, wash your hands often, cover your cough, and stay home when you are ill.”
Whittaker said DGHD has MMR available and is also available to answer questions and give information about the vaccine.
Symptoms of mumps include fever, body aches, fatigue, swelling of salivary glands, or pain with chewing or swallowing.
Up to 15 percent of people with mumps may also experience stiff neck and headache.
About a third of patients will show mild symptoms or no symptoms.
Symptoms usually begin 14 to 18 days after catching the virus, but the virus can be spread to others before symptoms even occur, according to the CDC. Transmission is likely before the salivary glands begin to swell and within five days after the swelling starts.
Measles is caused by a highly contagious respiratory virus that spreads through droplets from a cough.
Symptoms begin with a cough, runny nose and fever, after which spots begin to appear in the mouth and a rash begins to form. Measles can be transmitted from four days prior to the onset of the rash to four days after the onset.
ODH has warned that unimmunized individuals exposed to measles have a high likelihood of contracting it.
Stacy Kess can be reached at 740-413-9030 or on Twitter @StacyMKess.