The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the United States had eliminated measles back in 2000. But now it’s back and has reached Kansas.
The CDC reported 2014 broke a record in measles cases. There have been 512 reported cases nationwide from January 1 to June 20. Three of those cases are in Johnson County. Last year, Kansas didn’t have any reported measles cases.
Infectious Disease Doctor Thomas Moore said he hopes measles doesn’t reach Wichita, but it could.
"I think the way that this is trending it may be inevitable there would be cases seen in Wichita,” Dr. Moore said. “I hope not, but it's certainly possible.”
Dr. Moore said measles is a serious disease.
"Measles is a deadly disease. It is highly contagious and if you have never been vaccinated against it, it will find you,” Dr. Moore said.
He agreed with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) who reported vaccines as the best solution to measles. Aimee Rosenow, the Public Information Officer for KDHE’s Public Health Program said the department is trying to educate people on vaccines and the disease. She said the department suggests the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine.
Dr. Moore said the vaccine has some common misconceptions.
“There is no evidence that the measles vaccine is linked to autism or any other illness,” Dr. Moore said. He said the physician that originally reported that information has been completely discredited.
According to the CDC, kids should get two doses of the vaccine, one at one year of age and the next between four and six. Adults who have not had the vaccine don’t need to get it if they were born before 1957, if they don’t plan on having more kids or if they’ve already gotten the vaccine. Adults who should have the vaccine include anyone who is a student beyond high school, anyone who works in a hospital or medical facility, anyone who travels internationally or goes on cruises and any women who could have more children.
Doctor Moore said he hopes people take these necessary precautions and get vaccinated.
"I hope that people will see that there are measles cases in the United States and communities nearby Wichita,” Dr. Moore said. “If you're susceptible, take the initiative and get the vaccine and protect yourself and protect your family."
According to the CDC, symptoms of measles include mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat. Dr. Moore said since most physicians have never seen the virus, it may not be readily recognized at the doctor’s office.
The CDC reported no outbreaks in Kansas so far, but Dr. Moore said there have been more than a dozen across the country.