TOLEDO (WTOL) - An outbreak of the measles has doctors warning you to be careful as you travel this holiday weekend. With the Easter egg hunts, church stops or family gatherings it’s important you are aware of the highly contagious disease.
Doctors say most are protected from contracting measles, but it's those who can’t be vaccinated yet or are choosing not too that are raising concerns.
It's hard for medical professionals to see, a rising case of measles.
"It’s difficult in the sense that this is something that’s entirely preventable,” said Dr. Brian Kaminski, Vice President of Quality and Safety for ProMedica and Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Flower Hospital. “We have diseases out there that don’t have good treatment, that don’t have a cure to them, and this is something that was literally eradicated. It’s something we didn’t see in the United States.”
According to medical professionals the best defense against measles is the vaccine. The Center for Disease Controls recommends two doses of the MMR vaccine, which is 97 percent effective. The first dose is recommended for those 12 to 15 months old and the second dose is recommended for those from the age of four to six.
Despite that, others across the country are choosing to go without the vaccine. Some medical professional say this is the cause of the measles outbreak we’ve seen hit hard this year.
The most vulnerable of contracting this disease are children, which is why doctors are warning you this holiday weekend.
"It’s definitely something that you want to think about, especially if you are traveling with somebody that’s either unvaccinated or too young to be vaccinated, " said Dr. Kaminski.
While we haven’t seen any cases in Ohio, Michigan has seen a lot more than normal. To date in the first four months of this year they have 43 reported cases, some just north of us. Doctors say it’s because of that, you should be cautious if you or someone you know is unprotected from this highly contagious disease.
“It can stay in a room for up to two hours after somebody has been in there who has measles,” said Dr. Brian Kaminski. “So, it’s something that’s transmitted as easily as a common cold.”
Cases of measles usually present with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red watery eyes. According to the CDC, days later it leads to a rash starting at the head and moving down. Doctors say while Ohio hasn’t seen any cases, they are hearing from patients who are concerned.
Dr. Brian Kaminski said they are prepared if anyone would present symptoms at one of their hospitals.
"We have protocols for triaging patients appropriately, limiting the exposure to other patients and placing them in negative pressure ventilated rooms that will minimize the notion that they could infect other patients, " said Kaminski.
While it's nice to know they can handle it, doctors say the best defense is the vaccine. If you are unsure about your vaccine records you should contact your doctor.
More about measles, the symptoms, and vaccines can be found here.