FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2014

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


KDHE Identifies Another Possible Public Exposure Point to Measles in Wichita

Wichita, Kan. -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) identified another possible exposure to measles in Wichita at the South Lakes Sports Complex on the fourth of July. Potential exposure occurred from previously identified cases, however there have been no confirmed cases associated with this event.

Eight teams from Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas attended the informal softball tournament. KDHE and SCHD are working with health officials in Texas, Missouri and Nebraska.

KDHE is asking anyone who attended the event or participated in the event and developed an illness with fever and rash to contact their healthcare provider. Healthcare providers who have questions should call the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 877-427-7317 or the Sedgwick County Health Department at 316-660-7424.

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.