Measles Outbreak in Ohio Leads Amish to Reconsider Vaccines

Source: NPR Online

By: Tribble, Sarah Jane


The United States is currently experiencing its largest measles outbreak in recent history, with many of the cases occurring in unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio. The state currently has 341 confirmed cases and eight hospitalizations. Although many Amish are not against vaccines in principle, many have never received the shots. Some areas of the Amish community have postponed major events, such as weddings and home church services, because of the outbreak. An Amish woman contacted the Knox County Health Department to inform a county worker that she and a family next door had the measles, which prompted nurse Jacqueline Fletcher to take action. She began to organize door-to-door vaccinations and set up vaccination clinics at various locations, including a store that normally sells construction supplies. Public-health workers do not know for sure how many are still at risk of measles, as because there is no official count of the Amish living in Ohio. Researchers at Ohio State University estimate that about 33,000 Amish live in the six-county area where the outbreak began. So far, about 8,000 people in those counties have been vaccinated, but there are concerns that the measles will keep spreading due to a resistance to vaccinations.

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