BOWLING GREEN — Erie County and Wood County health departments recently investigated a possible case of measles that turned out to be negative.
A patient in Bowling Green reported a rash and other symptoms consistent with measles. The patient was isolated while awaiting laboratory results, which confirmed the patient did not have measles.
Erie County and Wood County health departments followed up with the patient and close contacts, and coordinated with the Ohio Department of Health. This investigation is an example of something health departments and other agencies do often in order to protect public health.
While Ohio does not have any confirmed measles cases, more than 800 have been reported in 24 states – the most cases reported in the U.S. since 1994. Measles is still common in many parts of world, and large outbreaks are currently occurring in Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines. Travelers with measles bring the disease into U.S., where it can spread in communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.
Measles is a very contagious disease that spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that starts at the hair line and spreads across the body.
The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is highly effective at preventing transmission of measles. One dose of MMR vaccine is approximately 93 percent effective at preventing measles. Two doses are approximately 97 percent effective.
If you’re not sure whether you are fully vaccinated, talk with your health care provider. If you believe you may have been exposed to measles or are experiencing symptoms, call your provider immediately. You should also:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables and counters. Standard household disinfectants will readily kill the measles virus.