REDWOOD CITY, California – The latest reports of the country’s largest measles outbreak in two decades are coming from Ohio and doctors there named the Philippines as the source.
According to health officials, 68 people in the vicinity of Knox County have been infected in the outbreak.
Doctors said it started when four people from Christian Aid Ministries were infected during a mission trip earlier this year to the Philippines, the site of a very large measles outbreak with a least 20,000 cases.
The disease spread to 62 others in Ohio, and state health officials suspect that number could be higher.
California’s San Francisco Bay Area has also been a hotspot for measles traced to the Philippines.
Health officials there alerted the public in February after a student, also infected during a recent trip to the Philippines, rode a public train — possibly exposing thousands of people to the airborne disease.
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 129 measles cases in the United States between Jan. 1 and April 18.
It is the highest number since 1996 and disturbing news for doctors who believed that measles was eliminated from the United States since 2000.
Officials urge anyone who has not been vaccinated or is unsure if they’ve been vaccinated to check their immunization records.
"Usually, within a few days following an exposure to someone who is sick [with measles], you will develop cold symptoms, eye itchiness, and a rash from the head going to the body," Dr. Carmelo Roco, a general medicine practitioner in San Francisco, said of the typical symptoms of measles infection.