Three measles cases have been confirmed in a Johnson County child care facility, the Johnson County Health Department said Tuesday.
All three cases were in children less than 1 year of age, thus are too young to be vaccinated for the disease. Those at risk for the disease have been contacted and the investigation is ongoing.
The children with measles were treated for symptoms and are not in danger, the department said. Officials were not able to release information about which child care facility was affected because of patient privacy rules.
To prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease, the affected children and others they have come in contact with will be kept away from the child care facility for 21 days following the last exposure to the disease.
Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. Since the creation of a vaccine, cases are rare in the United States, but the disease still sickens millions and kills 146,000 people worldwide each year. If you or your child have not been vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that measles is highly contagious. Around 90 percent of those not vaccinated who are in close contact with a measles patient will get the disease.
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles in children and adults," Health Director Lougene Marsh said, advising that children have the vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old, and again before they enter kindergarten.
Measles 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 fever, blotchy skin rash, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes and aches.
Marsh advised that if a child has a fever, they should be kept home except to see a healthcare provider. Anyone needing to visit a healthcare provider with a suspected case of measles should call ahead so appropriate measures can be taken to protect other patients and staff.
People at high risk for severe illness and complications from measles include infants and children less than 5 years of age, adults older than 20 years, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.