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Measle outbreak in Kansas

7/24/2014

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Sedgwick County Health Department have identified possible exposure to measles in the Wichita area.  


Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. With the creation of the MMR (measles, mumps, and 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 11, 2014, 566 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.


The best way to prevent the measles is to get vaccinated.  Measles vaccination is usually combined with mumps and rubella (MMR). Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine: the first at 12 to 15 months of age and the second at 4 to 6 years of age.  All adults who have not had measles or a measles shot should receive MMR vaccine, particularly if they were born in 1957 or later. 


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. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected with the measles virus. 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) 
Nearly one in three persons who get measles will develop one or more complications, some of which may be serious. These include pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. Encephalitis, which is a severe inflammation of the brain, may also occur in some cases.




 If you or your child has been exposed to measles, Call the Cheyenne County Clinic right away at 785-332-2682. They will let you know if you need to come in for a visit.  If you have not been vaccinated, getting an MMR shot within three days of being exposed may prevent measles. 


The best way to prevent measles is to protect your children by having them vaccinated. Protect yourself by making sure you have immunity to measles. If you are ill with a fever, stay home and avoid all public places except to see a medical provider.  If you need to seek healthcare, call ahead so appropriate measures can be taken to protect other patients and staff.
For more information about the measles, contact the Cheyenne County Health Department at 785-332-2381.


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