COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio has seen outbreaks of two illnesses not seen in the state for several years.
A mumps outbreak in central Ohio is nearing 300 cases in 11 counties and a measles outbreak has topped two-dozen cases in five counties.
"These vaccine preventable diseases are still there and we need to protect ourselves and protect our loved ones by getting vaccinated," said Dr. Mary DiOrio, epidemiologist at the Ohio Dept. of Health.
There hasn't been a mumps outbreak in a couple of years and it's even longer to find a measles outbreak. In fact, Ohio hasn't seen measles cases top six cases since 1996. The last major outbreak was in 1990 when there were 549 cases. A year earlier there were 2,720.
"We realized at that time that we really needed to have the two doses for the measles vaccination recommendation and that really did a great job in decreasing the number of measles cases," DiOrio said.
The measles outbreak is expected to continue to grow. It was brought back from the Philippines by a group on a mission trip. They returned to an area of the state with a high Amish population and low immunization rate. That's helped the highly contagious disease spread.
As for the mumps cases, DiOrio predicts that outbreak should start leveling off soon.
So why are we seeing these outbreaks? DiOrio says about 2 percent of Ohioans are not vaccinated. That's either because they cannot be or they've opted out due to religious or philosophical reasons.
"The vast majority of individuals understand the importance of vaccine and are getting vaccinated and we're seeing high vaccination rates," she said.
(Photo courtesy Getty Images)