- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - The percentage of children receiving the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine on time has increased in Ohio, and a state official said a measles outbreak might have helped raise awareness.

Nearly 96 percent of children between the ages of 19 months and 35 months got at least one dose of the MMR vaccine last year, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland (http://bit.ly/1LzSmn9) reported Thursday. That’s up from 86 percent the previous year, and it topped the national rate of 91.5 percent.

New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate Ohio also outpaces the national average on most childhood vaccinations, the newspaper said.

Dr. Mary DiOrio, the Ohio Department of Health’s medical director, said one factor in the increase might have been outbreaks, including a measles outbreak in an Amish community that infected about 375 people.

“It looks like all the strides we’ve made in educating about immunization are making a difference,” DiOrio said. “This past year we had some large outbreaks that allowed us to increase awareness of these diseases and may have played a role.”

Ohio became the last state this month to require vaccinations for children entering preschool and day cares. The law still allows for philosophical exemptions, and the state’s personal-belief exemption rate has been around 2 percent of the population, DiOrio said.

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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