Ohio measles outbreak hits 73 cases as US totals pile up

A measles outbreak in Ohio has reached 73 cases—the largest state outbreak since 1996—and has helped spur US cases to some of their highest levels in recent years, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Ohio outbreak began in March and involves patients from 1 to 52 years old, with about even numbers male and female, according to an ODH update today. Five patients have required hospitalization. Forty-five of the cases have been in Knox County, while Ashland County has recorded the second-highest total, at 14.

All of the patients are Amish, according to a USA Today story published today. The outbreak began after Amish missionaries returned from the Philippines, which is experiencing a large, ongoing measles outbreak.

On May 9 the CDC listed 187 measles cases from 15 US outbreaks since Jan 1, closing in on the total of 189 for all of last year. The number for this year, however, is already outdated, because the ODH said its most recent case had a disease onset of May 11.

In 1996, Utah reported a 119-case measles outbreak. Since 2000, when local measles cases were considered eradicated in the United States, the country has had from 37 cases in 2004 to 220 in 2011, the CDC said. The agency said last month that the country’s pace of new measles cases through Apr 18 was its fastest since 1996.



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