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‘Extremely contagious;’ Public Health warns community after confirmed measles case

DAYTON — One case of measles has been reported in Montgomery County.

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This is Dayton’s first case of measles since 2005.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, in 2023 there was one case of measles, and in 2022 there were 90 after an outbreak occurred in the central Ohio area.

“A lot of people have forgot about measles and how dangerous it can be,” said Becky Thomas, Medical Director, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

The case was identified in a child who was evaluated at Dayton Children’s Hospital in the main campus Emergency Department on Jan. 29 and Jan. 31, according to a previous News Center 7 report.

Public Health released a warning that others may have been exposed.

“We talked to the family of the individual to get more information about other people in our community, who may have been exposed while this child was sick,” Thomas said.

Thomas said those who were in the ER around the same time as the child have been contacted.

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“For those individuals who are fully vaccinated, we recommend they continue to monitor for symptoms of measles. It can take up to 21 days for symptoms to appear,” Thomas said.

Some symptoms to look out for include coughing, a runny nose, watery eyes, and a high fever.

“Three to five days later a rash can follow that starts on the face and then spreads down throughout the rest of the body,” Thomas said.

The Ohio Department of Health says the disease can live in the air for up to two hours.

“Measles is extremely contagious and can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. If one person has measles, up to 90% of those who come into contact with that person and who are not immune will also become infected,” an ODH spokesperson said.

Complications from measles are more common among children younger than 5 years old, adults older than 20, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems, according to ODH.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County is now urging people to vaccinate their children.

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“The safest way to protect children from measles is to make sure they are vaccinated,” Thomas said.

ODH said it is not aware of any additional cases, but it will continue to work with Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County and other impacted health departments on the investigation.

More information on measles can be found here.

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