16 cases of measles make way into Ohio, put doctors on alert

KNOX COUNTY, Ohio -- A measles outbreak has made its way into Ohio.

Doctors are on high alert after 16 cases have hit Knox County, just north of Columbus.

Members of an Amish-Mennonite group contracted measles on a missionary trip to the Philippines. They had not been vaccinated against the disease.

Dr. Robert Frenck at Children's Hospital believes immunizing kids is a must, because measles can be very contagious.

"I think what the outbreaks really do is tell us we need to immunize our children," Frenck said. "Measles can be a very serious disease. People can die from measles."

The Cincinnati Children's laboratory has developed vaccines that have saved many lives around the world.

Since the outbreak, members of the Amish community say they'll give consent to be vaccinated.

In some ways, Frenck says vaccinations can be their own worst enemy.

"Vaccines have been so good at getting rid of disease, most people have never seen the wild type disease, never seen what polio causes, or diphtheria or pertussis, and so all they've seen are side effects of vaccines," he said. "They (parents) think the diseases are gone. They're (measles) not gone. The reason we don't see them is vaccines."

For those who have never experienced the measles, it starts with a fever that can get very high, followed by a cough, runny nose and red eyes. Last, a rash of tiny red spots will appear on the skin.

According to doctors, children should get their first measles shot by age 2, and a second measles shot between four and six years old.

Frenck said as with the group that contracted the measles in the Philippines, it often happens with students. They don't come in contact with the disease until they go abroad, and often bring back a virus before they even realize they're sick.

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