Getting vaccinated can help stop measles from spreading
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says an international traveler treated at a Kansas hospital may have exposed others to measles at two locations in Kansas City, Mo.
A news release from the department said anyone who was at Señor Tequila restaurant, 6502 North Oak Trafficway, on March 19 or CVS pharmacy, 1914 Swift St., on March 22, might have been exposed.
The Kansas City Health Department is working with the state agency on the measles investigation.
The latest exposures may be related to a traveler who was treated at the University of Kansas Hospital from March 23 to March 26 and tested positive for measles, but city health department spokesman Bill Snook said he couldn't confirm that.
“That’s all the information we’re able to release at this time, as it’s still under investigation,” Snook said of the state's news release.
But Snook said he could confirm that the possible exposures at the restaurant and CVS were not related to the ongoing measles outbreak that started at a Johnson County day care in early March.
That outbreak, which included several cases in children too young to be vaccinated, has so far sickened 13 people from three Kansas counties.
Measles used to be common, but after widespread vaccination the Centers for Disease Control declared it eliminated from the United States in 2000. It's still prevalent in some other countries, though, and people who pick it up there can spread it in the U.S. to people who are too young to be vaccinated, can't be vaccinated for medical reasons or refuse vaccines.
In rare cases, the vaccine also fails to provide a strong enough immune response and people who were vaccinated get sick.
People who were at possible exposure sites are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms for three weeks. The first symptom is a high fever, followed by cough, runny nose and watery eyes. The telltale red rash that starts at the hairline follows a few days later.
Most cases of measles resolve on their own, but it can have serious and even fatal complications. It's usually more severe for people under 5 or over 20.
"Measles is extremely contagious, and you can have very severe outcomes," MDHSS director Randall Williams said in the Missouri agency's news release. "For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. If you are diagnosed with measles, it is important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and community."
KU Hospital officials warned patients and staff earlier this week that they might have been exposed in the emergency department on March 23, in the cystic fibrosis/telemetry unit on March 23 through 26 and in the cafeteria on March 25.
The exposure sites related to the Johnson County outbreak are:
- Chuck E. Cheese's at 15225 W. 134th Place, Olathe; 1-4 p.m. March 21
- Walgreens at 7500 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Mo.; 6-8 p.m. March 22
- Chick-fil-A at 12087 S. Blackbob Road, Olathe; 8:15 p.m. to close on March 24
- AMC Dine-In Studio 28 at 12075 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe; 3:30-7:30 p.m. March 9
- Aldi, 15290 W. 119th St., Olathe; 3-5 p.m. March 2
- Payless Discount Foods, 2101 E. Santa Fe St., Olathe; 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. March 6
- El Potro Mexican Café, 602 N. Pearl St., Paola; 4-8 p.m. March 7
- Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas (emergency department), 5808 W. 110th St., Overland Park; the mornings of March 8 and March 10
- Budget Coin Laundry, 798 E. Main St., Gardner; 8-11 p.m. March 9
- YMCA swimming pool and locker room, 21400 W. 153rd St., Olathe; 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. March 10 and entire facility 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on March 22 and 23
- Bath & Body Works at Legends Outlets, 1803 Village W. Parkway, Kansas City, Kan.; 1-3 p.m. March 10
- Crazy 8 at Legends Outlets, 1843 Village W. Parkway, Kansas City, Kan.; 1-3 p.m. March 10
- Orange Leaf, 11524 W. 135th St., Overland Park; 3-6 p.m. March 10