Vaccinations being stressed more as school begins

After the mumps outbreak that hit Ohio this past spring, health and school officials are stressing the importance of vaccinations even more heading into the new school year.

There are currently no outbreaks of illnesses locally.

“Mumps and measles have calmed down considerably,” Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson indicated. Clark County has had a total of six suspected and probable cases of mumps so far in 2014.

However, he stressed the importance of staying up-to-date on a child’s immunization record.

“We encourage people to see their primary health care provider for the vaccines,” said Patterson.

There is a rise in the occurrence of another disease.

“There has been a slight uptick in pertussis,” Patterson said.

The number of local pertussis cases in 2014 as of Friday was 38, according to Clark County Combined Health District. There were 96 cases last year, after only seven reported cases in 2012.

He pointed out weather is really not a factor in any of those illnesses. But “when it cools down, and we start to close the windows and there’s a more-closed environment, (the greater occurrence of illnesses is) always a possibility. We hope to have these things under control before we get into that situation.”

Susan Bayless, Director of Nursing at the CCCHD, said for Kindergarten students, immunizations are required for diphtheria, tetanus, polio and pertussis (DTAPP), along with chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella and hepatitis A.

Vaccines suggested for older students are two doses for hepatitis A and three doses for hepatitis B. Seventh-graders (11- and 12-year-olds) who have not received all of their doses should get them, she said. The vaccine for meningitis is also suggested, with the first dose given at age 11 or 12 and a booster at age 16. Three doses of the human papaloma virus vaccine are also recommended for girls and boys ages 9-11.

“That prevents many of the common cervical cancers in women later in life,” Patterson explained.

The boys are asked to get the vaccine because they can pass diseases on to girls if they are sexually active.

The vaccines are also given at the health department, 529 E. Home Rd., in Springfield. Walk-ins can receive the shots Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Appointments are accepted all day on Tuesdays and from 1:20-4 p.m. on Thursdays.

Mary Ellen Snider, Lead Nurse for the Springfield City School District, said they work closely with the health district and constantly monitor the immunization records to make sure the incoming Kindergarten children and new students to the district have their proper shots.

Snider added the schools so far are not seeing any signs of illnesses or high numbers of absences.

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