Toward the end of National Infant Immunization Week and in the wake of measles cases confirmed in 22 states, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, MD, sent a reminder about the importance of children and adults being up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations. Ohio currently has no confirmed measles cases, but neighboring states Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan do.
According to ODH, vaccinations are still the safest, most effective way to prevent vaccine-preventable disease as they stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against specific diseases. Some serious and potentially life-threatening diseases that vaccines can help prevent include but are not limited to measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, chickenpox, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, and flu.
“I urge all Ohioans to talk with your healthcare provider to make sure that you and your children have received all recommended vaccines. If you do not have a health care provider, contact your local health department which may offer immunization clinics,” said Acton.
Measles is extremely contagious and can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. If one person has measles, up to 90% of those close to 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.
If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch an infected surface and then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can also become infected. People infected with measles can spread it to others from four days before, through four days after, a rash appears.