More Measles Cases In Kansas

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WICHITA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Two new measles diagnoses in Sedgwick Co. have pushed the number of reported cases in Kansas into double digits, according to the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Sedgwick Co. Health Dept. (SCHD).

One of the cases struck an infant too young to be immunized, while the other affected an adult.

KDHE was able to link both new patients to the six other cases reported in the area this year. Three more instances have popped up in Johnson Co. as well. Nationwide, the agency says more than 500 people have contracted measles - the highest number since the indigenous elimination of the respiratory virus in 2000. It added that most of the cases were among people who had not been immunized.

“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.

Highly contagious, measles makes its way from person to person through the air, mainly by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. Infected people usually notice symptoms about a week or two after they catch it.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • 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.)
  • Cough
  • 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 healthcare provider. If you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead so appropriate measures can be taken to protect other patients and staff,” said Adrienne Byrne-Lutz, SCHD Interim Director.

Nearly a one in three people who get measles develop complications, some of which can be serious, according to the KDHE. People the most at risk are kids under 5 and adults over 20, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems.