Measles Outbreak in Ohio Amish Community After Visit To Philippines

An Amish community in Ohio is the latest group to be sickened by an outbreak of measles. Though typically reluctant to vaccinate, members showed up in droves last week to receive the vaccine shot in a makeshift clinic.

amish measles vaccination

The outbreak has been traced to four unvaccinated members who recently returned from a trip to the Philippines where 20,000 cases of measles have been reported. The small group went there to offer humanitarian aid to typhoon victims, and are now believed to have sickened twelve others in the small town of Knox County, encouraging a record number of residents to get the vaccine. The Amish religious doctrine does not prohibit vaccinations, but coverage is usually minimal in these communities.

Last week over 100 residents showed up at a small woodworking business to receive the vaccine shot. When the amount on hand was quickly depleted, they ordered 300  more vials.

Measles are a vaccine-treatable disease that used to infect more than 500,000 people a year in the United States before the vaccine was introduced in 1963. In recent years, the number of cases have started to rise again due to small groups who refuse to vaccinate their children citing religious, parental freedom and other reasons they believe outweigh the risk of infection.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) maintains that vaccines are still recommended for all children starting at birth, stating, “Remember, vaccines are continually monitored for safety, and like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. However, a decision not to immunize a child also involves risk and could put the child and others who come into contact with him or her at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease.”

If you have traveled to the Philippines and you have not received the measles vaccine, officials are asking you to self-quarantine for at least 21 days to monitor your health and prevent the spread of potential disease.

Symptoms of Measles

  • Reddish/brown rash that begins on the face and travels to the entire body
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • White spots inside mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Feeling lethargic and rundown

Treatment 

Currently there is no medical treatment for measles, only prevention.

Palliative care may include taking ibuprofen to lower fever and reduce inflammation, rest, and drinking plenty of liquids

Complications

Aside from being uncomfortable, people have become very ill and even died from the measles due to complications of the disease including bronchitis, croup, pneumonia, laryngitis and ear infection.