Vaccine the best way to block spread of measles

Ohio has experienced a surge in measles cases in recent months, and even though there have not been reported cases locally, area residents need to be aware.

It’s nearly summer, school is out and plenty of families are traveling, whether it’s to amusement parks, zoos, museums or to visit friends and family. Many counties in Ohio are reporting measles outbreaks and Washington County residents could easily encounter infected people.

The Washington County Health Department is reporting that the largest outbreaks are in Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes, Knox, Richland, Stark and Wayne counties. The spread of the virus across Ohio is now the largest measles outbreak in the U.S. since 1994, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The measles virus is very contagious and can lead to other health problems, including ear infections and pneumonia. The best protection is a vaccine. We urge everyone who had not already been vaccinated to consider this option, not only to protect themselves and their families but to slow the spread of cases in Ohio and beyond. Vaccines are available from physicians, pharmacists (for adults) and at the Washington County Health Department.

If you do not choose to be vaccinated, be aware of the risks and take as many precautions as possible. The virus is spread through breathing, coughing and sneezing.

Symptoms include a fever, runny nose, cough, pink eye and a rash.

Measles has been very rare in recent years but seems to be coming back in some areas. Be informed, be aware and be careful.