FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KDHE Office of Communications
Wichita, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) have reported two additional cases of measles in Sedgwick County, Kan. One case was in an infant too young to be vaccinated and one case was in an adult. Both cases are epidemiologically linked to other known, recently reported cases of measles in Sedgwick County. In total, there have now been eight cases reported in Sedgwick County and three cases reported in Johnson County to date in 2014.
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 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.
Most measles cases in the United States have occurred among persons who are not 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.
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:
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 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.
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.Updates on additional measles cases in Kansas will be provided weekly at http://www.kdheks.gov/epi/measles.htm. For more information about measles visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/Measles/index.html.