The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed four measles cases in Sedgwick County on Saturday.
One case was linked to a recent outbreak in the Kansas City-area. A female with the virus is employed at Sal's Japanese Steakhouse in Wichita. Two other adults, also employees at Sal's, became infected according to the department of health. A three-month-old, too young to be vaccinated, also contracted measles. The KDHE said the only known exposure was the restaurant.
Eyewitness News spoke with owner Sandra Salvador on the phone and she said the health department told her she didn't have to shut down the restaurant because her employees all got their vaccinations.
FactFinder 12 looked into the state's requirements regarding vaccinations to work, and it turns out there are none. According to Sara Belfry from KDHE, there are no state requirements that say Kansans have to be up to date on immunizations to work. Belfry said some companies can have their own requirements and cities can have municipal ordinances. But the state does not require any of that.
Infectious Disease Doctor Thomas Moore said if the virus is present on a surface or in the air, the area has to be quarantined for up to two hours. At that point, it is no longer a danger.
Due to the risk of transmission, health officials are asking anyone who ate at Sal's Japanese Steakhouse located at 6829 East Kellogg Dr. in Wichita, on the following dates: June 20, 23, 25, 29, July 3, 5, 7 and developed an illness with fever and rash to contact their health care provider. The Kansas Department of Health says it is important to call your provider before going to the doctor to prevent spreading the illness.
Infectious Disease Doctor Thomas Moore said KDHE is right.
"If you think you have measles, it's best to contact your health care provider and discuss what needs to be done," Doctor Moore said. "You don't want to necessarily show up to the doctor and sit in the waiting room and cause infection to other people."
Measles is spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. Symptoms usually include:
- Blotchy rash
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes
- Feeling run down, achy
- Tiny white spots with bluish-centers found inside the mouth
Doctor Moore said the incubation period is three weeks meaning symptoms could take that long to show up. He said people are infectious as early as four days before symptoms.
"The problem is there's a period of time before somebody develops symptoms during which time they can continue to transmit the virus," Moore said. "That's really the most dangerous period."
Doctor Moore said it's a dangerous disease and if you have not been immunized, you're in danger.
"If you are not immune to it, it'll come get you. It's one of the most highly infectious viruses that we know of," Doctor Moore said.
Those who are at the highest risk are children younger than 5-years-old and adults over 20-years-old, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems.
Now that the virus is in Wichita, Doctor Moore said doctors have to be aware.
"If the virus is introduced into a community, it's a matter of quarantining and keeping people isolated who have the virus and who have been in contact with those who have the virus," Doctor Moore said. "What happens with measles now that it's in Wichita is going to be completely dependent on the ability to identify individuals who have come in contact with the virus and being able to quarantine them. If that is unsuccessful, then the virus will continue to propagate through the community."