WICHITA, Kan. — The number of measles cases across the state has increased again.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports that there are now 14 total confirmed cases statewide, 11 of which are in Sedgwick County.
Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus that had previously been eliminated in the U.S. with the creation of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The KDHE says until now, cases have been rare in the U.S., but still sickens approximately 20 million kids and kills 164,000 people worldwide each year.
The resurgence in the U.S. began this year. From January 1 through July 11, 566 cases have been reported in 20 states - the highest number of cases since indigenous measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in the year 2000.
Measles is highly contagious, and spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. Signs and symptoms typically begin one to two weeks after someone is exposed to an infected person.
Those at high risk for severe illness and complications include infants and children ages five and under, adults over the age of 20, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.
Last weekend, the Sedgwick County Health Department held a free vaccination clinic. They had 700 doses of the vaccine, but only administered 80 doses in the 4 hours the clinic was open.
Posted by Greg Palmer