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Ohio measles outbreak hits partially vaccinated kids, babies too young for shots

Some children who got their first shot may not yet be eligible for their second.



Enlarge / Child with a classic four-day rash from measles. (credit: CDC)

The measles outbreak in Ohio continues to swell, striking a total of 63 children to date. The tally now includes at least three children who were partially vaccinated against the highly contagious virus and 14 who are typically too young to be vaccinated.

The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, with the first dose recommended between the ages of 12 months and 15 months and the second between ages 4 and 6. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just one MMR dose is estimated to be 93 percent effective against measles. Two doses are 97 percent effective. People who get their two doses on the recommended schedule are considered protected for life.

It’s unclear if the three partially vaccinated children were too young to be eligible for their second dose or contracted measles quickly after getting their first dose, potentially before full protection developed. Health officials in the affected areas of Ohio have been promoting vaccination, which may have led some parents to get their eligible children freshly vaccinated amid the heightened awareness. The affected areas in Ohio span at least two counties: Franklin County, which encompasses Columbus, and Ross County to the south.

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