CNN shares a story based on data by Columbus Public Health showing more 59 children (at the time of writing) have been caught in a measles outbreak, with 23 needing hospitalization at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. None of the children were fully vaccinated when the outbreak started in November. Three had received their first MMR dose and the remaining 56 were unvaccinated. About 71% of the cases were in children aged 1- to 5-years old, or old enough to begin the vaccine schedule.
Health officials across the three affected counties have produced an exposure site list that includes department and grocery stores and a church. The outbreak has gone wide enough that the officials believe an outbreak they have described as “very concerning” will take months to get under control.
The outbreak is attributed to a lack of vaccination, possibly contributable to the pandemic knocking many children off their vaccination schedule. The hospitalized children join an overflow of pediatric respiratory cases, like many hospitals across the country are experiencing. Controlling measles in such an environment and among immunocompromised children is an extra threat. In a statement to CNN Nationwide Children’s Hospital maintains it is able to treat all of its patients appropriately.
PIDS member Sean O’Leary is quoted in the story saying, “The concern now is that we’ve had this global dip in vaccination coverage as a result of the pandemic, probably not actually from vaccine hesitancy or refusal but just there were a lot of kids that missed their checkups during the pandemic, and we really haven’t completely caught those kids up. Measles is such a contagious disease that when you see those dips, we really worry about the potential for large outbreaks. You need to really maintain a high vaccination coverage to keep measles from spreading.”