Health officials name new possible measles exposure sites in Kansas

by Dan Margolies and Alex Smith, Kansas News Service

Sixteen measles cases have now been identified in Johnson, Linn and Miami counties since March 8, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

An additional case was also confirmed in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 12 by the Kansas City Health Department.

Health officials do not believe the Kansas and Missouri infections are related.

Health departments have pinpointed where and when the individuals were infected. Because people can acquire measles anywhere from a week to three weeks after exposure, KDHE said there are concerns that additional cases may be identified.

The agency is urging people who are ill or exhibiting symptoms to remain at home unless they’re seeking medical care.

KDHE says people who visited the following locations on the dates and times listed may have been exposed to measles:

• Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, 13300 Kenneth Rd., Leawood, Kansas; April 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
• Casey’s General Store, 207 S. 9th St., Mound City, Kansas; March 28 from noon to 2:30 p.m.
• Olathe Health Family Medicine, 302 N. 1st St., Mound City, Kansas; March 28 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Olathe Health Family Medicine, 2017 E. Market St., La Cygne, Kansas; March 27 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Casey’s General Store, 406 E Market St., La Cygne, Kansas, March 27th from noon to 2:30 p.m.
• Chick-fil-A, 12087 S Blackbob Rd., Olathe, Kansas; March 24 from 8:15 p.m. to close.
• Olathe YMCA, 21400 W. 153rd St., Olathe, Kansas; March 22 and 23 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Walgreens, 7500 Wornall Rd., Kansas City, Missouri; March 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Chuck E. Cheese’s, 15225 W. 134 Pl., Olathe, Kansas; March 21, 1 to 4 p.m.

Nancy Tausz, health services division director at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, says the 11 locations were identified through contact tracing, the process of identifying individuals who have spent time in a room or enclosed space where an infectious individual was present or for up to two hours later. The outbreak started in a Johnson County child-care facility.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” she says, and additional cases may turn up.

“They’re very fluid when you do investigations, so it still remains to be seen,” she said.

Except for 2014, when three cases were reported, the county had zero cases between 2012 and now. The eight cases in Johnson County already equal the total in 2011.

Initial symptoms of measles include high fever, coughing, runny nose and red, watery eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tiny white spots typically appears inside the mouth two or three days later, followed by a rash that spreads downward on the body. The disease is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing.

The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the airspace where an infected person has coughed or sneezed, the CDC said.

Measles is preventable with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The CDC recommends that children get two doses, the first at 12 through 15 months of age and the second at 4 through 6 years of age. Two doses are 97 percent effective, according to the CDC; one dose is 93 percent effective.

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor for KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter, @DanMargolies. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

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