Olentangy Valley News

Case of measles joins mumps outbreak in Delaware County

Visitors to ER, clinic last week may have been exposed, health district says


As a mumps outbreak continues to affect the county, Delaware County health officials are investigating a possible case of measles.

The Delaware General Health District announced Friday, May 2, it was investigating a suspected case of measles involving a patient who visited an emergency room and a doctor's office in the city of Delaware.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the state's current measles outbreak is thought to have started in Knox County in late March after an Amish community group returned from a trip to the Philippines. That outbreak has sickened 35 people in Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes, Knox, Richland and Wayne counties as of Monday, May 5.

Measles is a highly contagious disease with symptoms that include a rash that covers the entire body, fever, runny nose and red eyes.

Traci Whittaker, spokeswoman for the Delaware General Health District, said it is unknown if Delaware County's suspected case is tied to the ongoing outbreak.

"We're still investigating it, but there isn't a link to the Amish community in Knox County," she said.

In the Delaware County case, the patient went to the emergency room of Delaware's Grady Memorial Hospital between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. April 27 and between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m that night. The patient also went to OhioHealth Marion Area Physicians' Lexington Boulevard office between 3:30 and 7 p.m. May 1.

The district advised any unvaccinated people who were in those two locations at those times to get their measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccinations within 72 hours.

The health district opened Sunday, May 4, to conduct a special clinic for patients at OhioHealth who might have been exposed to measles. Whittaker said 10 people who were either unvaccinated or did not know if they were vaccinated received their MMR booster at the clinic.

The news of the possible measles case in Delaware County follows a central Ohio mumps outbreak that spread north into the county in late March. The county had recorded 32 probable cases of the mumps as of May 5.

Whittaker said district officials are ready to investigate mumps and measles outbreaks at the same time, if necessary.

"We'll just have to pool our resources," she said. "This is what we do."