Three cases of measles have been confirmed in a Johnson County child care facility, the health department says.
All identified cases are in children less than one year of age, who are too young to be vaccinated for the disease, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment said Tuesday. Those at risk for the disease have been contacted.
"In order to prevent the spread of measles, the affected children and others they have come in contact with have been excluded from the child care facility for 21 days following the last exposure to the disease, per the Kansas Administrative Regulation 28-1-6. Any child that has been exposed to measles should not attend any childcare facility or school. This protects the community from further spread," the department said in a release.
Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus.
Since the creation of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine, measles cases are rare in the United States; however, it still sickens millions and kills 146,000 people worldwide each year.
"Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles in children and adults. Make sure children have the MMR vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old, and again before they enter kindergarten," JCDHE Director Lougene Marsh said.
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.)
Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
Feeling run down, achy
Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik's spots)
"If your child has a fever, keep them 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," Marsh said.
Severe cases are rare, but could be deadly.
"For the most part, people get it and recover from it," said Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease doctor from the University of Kansas Health System. "In those rare cases they can get other manifestations of the disease which could cause very sever effects such as encephalitis, brain death, coma, respiratory failure, things of that nature."
People at high risk for severe illness and complications from measles include infants and children less than 5 years old, adults older than 20 years, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.