Wichita, Kansas— A measles outbreak in 20 states, affecting hundreds of people nationwide, is making its way into Sedgwick County. The two confirmed cases in the county are linked to a recent out-break in the Kansas City area.
Miranda Morgan is a pediatric nurse and mother of two who says she’s on the fence about vaccinating her 16 month old daughter.
“A lot of it is religious I’ve just done some studying and stuff and feel that God would just have us do a little more natural things so I tend to lean more toward natural stuff,” Morgan said.
And while these moms are aware of a recent measles outbreak, Mindy Holeman says she chooses to wait longer between vaccines for her kids, stressing the importance of good hygiene.
“And I think after that you just have to trust God and just not worry about it,” she said. “We’re here at the park and we’re going to have a good time, if anybody has measles obviously they’re not going to be here right now.”
“There are such dangers to not having children vaccinated,” said SCHD Interim Director Adrienne Byrne-Lutz.
Sedgwick County Health Department officials are concerned the county’s two confirmed cases could turn into more; they’re asking people help to stop the spread.
“It is a highly effective vaccine, so it’s largely preventable. That’s why as of 2000, because of the few cases in the United States, maybe 60 a year, it was considered eliminated,” said Byrne-Lutz.
But in recent years, those numbers are back on the rise. More than 550 cases confirmed since January of this year; a huge spike after averaging around 60 cases a year since 2000.
Health officials say a majority of parents choose to have their kids vaccinated.
“I think it’s very important that all parents vaccinate their children from the ages of one to five the state has requirements that way all children can go to school and I think all parents should follow those guidelines,” said parent Christopher Thuma.
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WICHITA, Kansas – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Sedgwick County Health Department have reported two cases of measles in Sedgwick County that are linked to a recent outbreak of measles in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
One case was in an adult who had not been vaccinated, while the other case was in an infant too young to be vaccinated. All those at risk for the disease are being contacted and the investigation is ongoing.
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 3, 2014, 554 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 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. Symptoms include:
- 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.)
- 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 health care provider. If you need to visit your health care 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 20 years, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems.
For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/features/Measles/index.html