Measles is a largely preventable disease with the help of vaccinations, but officials in Columbus, Ohio, say they’re in the midst of a measles outbreak.
According to Columbus Public Health, there have been 59 measles cases confirmed in central Ohio in the last month. Of those, 56 involved people not vaccinated against measles. The other three cases involved children considered partially vaccinated.
The outbreak has caused 23 hospitalizations.
Health officials said 54 of the 59 cases involved children up to age 5.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the measles vaccine is about 97% effective. For the small percentage of those fully vaccinated who get infected, the CDC said measles cases tend to be mild.
The virus initially causes a high fever, runny nose, cough and watery eyes. It can then cause spots and rashes.
Severe cases can cause pneumonia and swelling of the brain. Hospitalization is needed for one out of every five unvaccinated people infected.
The U.S. has about a 91% vaccination rate against measles.