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Is the Ohio measles outbreak nearly over?

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Pam Palm, acting as the Press Information Officer for the Unified Public Health Command managing the response to the Ohio measles outbreak, spoke with the Examiner by phone today and confirmed that the number of confirmed cases has remained steady at 368 for several days. No one is prepared to declare the outbreak over. The standard for the end of such an outbreak is a 42 day period with no new cases. The last measles illness in Ohio began June 29 so it will be at least until Aug. 10 before any such declaration could be made.

The Ohio Department of Health daily report of measles cases has stood at 368 for nearly a week. Knox County, at the center of the outbreak with 195 reported cases, has not seen a new case of measles since June 11, Ms. Palm stated. Their 42 day window expires about July 23.

There have been ten hospitalizations for measles. Half of the hospitalized patients have been infants. Nearly all of the patients have been Amish with the exception of an infant from Highland County and several preschoolers from upstate Ohio, Palm noted. All their illnesses are directly linked to exposure to Amish illnesses.

The public health authorities in Ohio continue to offer measles vaccinations on a walk-in basis as they wait for Aug.10. Palm stated that as many as 40 percent of the 3,500 Amish in Knox County have been newly immunized. Church services have been resumed in the various communities.

Ms. Palm pointed out that Ohio's Amish Country was host to annual events over the holiday weekend of July 4 promoting Amish culture and tourism. Officials are waiting with bated breath to see if these large gatherings will result in new measles cases or not.

The Kansas City outbreak continues to grow. KSNW is reporting two new measles cases in the Wichita, KS metro area. One adult and one child have been confirmed to have contracted the illness and both cases are linked to the Kansas City outbreak. This increases the 2014 total for the state to five. As of a June 28 e-mail to the Examiner, Missouri has seen 17 measles cases in the outbreak.

KCPQ reported July 10 that the state of Washington has had 27 measles cases in 2014. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported on July 9 that a second case had been diagnosed in the county. Both cases are tied to an measles outbreak that began May 30 in the state which now totals 12. King County has ten in its Micronesian community. The first Pierce County patient was exposed in a Pierce County emergency department. This second case had close contact with the first case.

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