Whooping cough and measles hitting Northeast Kansas

(TOPEKA) KSNT — Public health officials across the country are voicing increasing concerns about the re-appearance of two diseases they thought had virtually disappeared in the US.

They are diseases every child is supposed to be immunized against, but which now pose an increasing danger.

“It’s scary to think that can happen but I’m glad we have her immunized so we shouldn’t have to worry about it,” said Lesley Gutierrez, concerned parent.

Whooping cough or measles. The risk is why Gutierrez brought her daughter in for a wellness check-up. Concerns about diseases that a decade ago you rarely saw in the US.

But now 87 cases of measles have been tied to Disneyland in California. Closer to home six cases of whooping cough in Barton County – one of them fatal.

“We thought we had it eradicated from the United States in the late 90s, but we are such a global society, we travel. It is easily spread from other countries where the immunization rates weren’t that great,” said Chris Everts, St. Francis Hospital head of the immunization program.

Last year the Kansas Department of Environmental Health reported 384 cases of whooping cough and 14 cases of measles. Including in Topeka.

“We’ve had pockets of that around the state in several different counties,” Everts says.

Whooping cough and measles are both airborne and water based disease. Meaning that they can be contracted through saliva, and can live on a surface for two hours or up to several days. And if you don’t get vaccinated or treated they can be deadly.

“Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, can lead to respiratory failure. That’s why we really fear especially infants getting this disease. And measles can lead to encephalitis can lead to pneumonia,” says Everts.

Medical experts say if you have a new born baby make sure you and those close to children like Gutierrez vaccinated.

“Oh yeah we have all of our immunizations caught up and ensure that every year,” said Gutierrez.

Medical experts say you need to get a booster shot against whooping cough every 10-years. And a child should be vaccinated for measles twice… Once as an infant and the second before the age of 6.

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