You’ve probably heard about the ongoing measles outbreak going on in the US but how is it affecting the Mid-Ohio Valley? Our Cory Smith talks about how at risk you are.
Measles is a very contagious virus but thanks to vaccinations the US normally only sees around 60 cases per year.
Things are very different in 2019 as over 760 cases have been confirmed by the Center for Disease Control.
Immigration rates, as well as the decision to not vaccinate, have been cited as reasons for the increase of the virus.
“We are primarily seeing cases in where there are large pockets of people who are unvaccinated, this disease was initially eradicated in 2000 and since then and we have seen a steady increase over time. The two biggest populations are L.A. County in California and Rockland County in New York City which is obviously a huge population and we’ve seen more outbreaks in those areas because of the population who are unvaccinated.”
So far this year Ohio and West Virginia have not seen any confirmed cases of measles but the Ohio Department of Health did urge residents to get vaccinated.
Talking to Dr. Gabriela Olsen she thinks that West Virginia does have more protection against the virus compared to Ohio.
“Ohio has some pockets of unvaccinated citizens and in West Virginia two vaccines are mandatory for school entry so we do have a fairly high rate of vaccinations in the state and also I think our rural nature of the state helps protect us a little bit we don’t have huge centers of a lot of people like they do in Ohio.”
One of the unvaccinated populations in Ohio that Dr. Olsen was referring to was the Amish community.
Back in 2014, a smaller outbreak of measles affected 383 people throughout 9 counties in Ohio.
The good news for those that have had the vaccine already is that there is a 97% success rate meaning you have a slim to none chance of getting the virus.
Live from Parkersburg, Cory Smith WTAP News, this is home.