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Ohio: Gov. John Kasich issues executive order, attempt to improve MMR access

Ohio has been the hotbed for the vaccine preventable diseases, measles and mumps in 2014, accounting for a significant portion of the national totals of both viral diseases.

Gov Kasich signs executive order which allows pharmacists to administer the MMR vaccine to adults
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

This has prompted Ohio Governor John Kasich to sign an executive order today in an attempt to get these outbreaks under control by providing more opportunities for the public to get vaccinated.

Executive Order 2014-04K will authorize licensed pharmacists to administer the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to individuals 18 years and older.

The number of measles cases reported in the Buckeye State is now up to 287 cases, which eight people required hospitalization. To put the total in perspective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting 397 measles cases in 20 states from the beginning of the year to June 6.

This means Ohio accounts for 72 percent of all measles cases nationwide, while 19 other states account for the other 27 percent.

Concerning the Central Ohio mumps outbreak, Columbus Public Health reported today a total of 417 mumps cases have been linked to the Franklin, Delaware and Madison counties’ community outbreak. To date, 232 cases have been linked to The Ohio State University outbreak. To put this total in perspective, in all of 2013, 438 people from 39 states in the U.S. were reported to have mumps.

Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Other symptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patient may be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.

The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infected include; seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis.

Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.

Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. It is usually a mild disease, but can occasionally cause serious complications.

The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.

Other rare complications include inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/meningitis), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) in females who have reached puberty and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.

The best prevention for both diseases is the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR).