Wichita, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) have reported two cases of measles in Sedgwick County that are linked to a recent outbreak of measles in the Kansas City metropolitan area. One case was in an adult who had not been vaccinated, while the other case was in an infant too young to be vaccinated. All those at risk for the disease are being contacted and the investigation is ongoing.
Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. With the creation of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, measles cases have generally been rare in the United States; however, it still sickens approximately 20 million and kills 164,000 people worldwide each year. There has been a resurgence of measles cases in the United States in 2014. From January 1, 2014 through July 3, 2014, 554 confirmed measles cases have been reported in 20 states. This is the highest number of cases since indigenous measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.
Kansas has had 5 reported cases so far this year.
“The best way to keep from getting the disease is by being vaccinated. Protect children by making sure they have the MMR vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old, and again before they enter kindergarten,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.
Measles is highly contagious and is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. The signs and symptoms of measles typically begin one to two weeks after someone is exposed to an infected person. Symptoms include:
- Blotchy rash on the skin, which spreads from the head to the trunk then to the lower extremities (Measles can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears.)
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Feeling run down, achy
- Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik spots)
“If you have a fever, stay home except to see a health care provider. If you need to visit your health care provider, call ahead so appropriate measures can be taken to protect other patients and staff,” said Adrienne Byrne-Lutz, SCHD Interim Director.
People at high risk for severe illness and complications from measles include infants and children aged <5 years, adults aged >20 years, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems.
For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/features/Measles/index.html