Health Care

Missouri measles outbreak up to 13 cases as more exposed at Walmart, medical clinic

Measles outbreak: a timeline

Here's a timeline showing the date and time of known measles exposure sites that started in early March through April 30, 2018, in Kansas and Missouri.
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Here's a timeline showing the date and time of known measles exposure sites that started in early March through April 30, 2018, in Kansas and Missouri.

A Walmart SuperCenter and an urgent care clinic near Liberty have been added to the list of exposure sites in a measles outbreak that has now sickened 13 people who live on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro.

People who were at the Walmart at 8301 N. Church Road in Kansas City from noon to 4 p.m. April 15 and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 17 are asked to monitor themselves for measles symptoms for 21 days afterward, especially if they're not vaccinated.

So are people who were at the Mosaic Life-Care at Shoal Creek Urgent Care office at 8880 NE 82nd Terrace from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 17.

The Missouri measles cases are not related to an outbreak that started in March in a Johnson County daycare and has sickened at least 22 people in several Kansas counties. That's the most cases of measles in Kansas since 1990. New exposure sites in that outbreak include El Charro restaurant, 2503 S. Main St. in Fort Scott on April 13 from 5:20 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Tranquility Village of Mound City at 614 W. Main St. in Mound City on April 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

New information from the Kansas City Health Department also shows that someone with measles was at Nashua Elementary School in the North Kansas City school district on April 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. But anyone exposed on that day who hasn't already gotten sick is in the clear.

Bill Snook, a spokesman for the health department, said it wasn't initially on the department's list of exposure sites because the state health department believed everyone who was potentially exposed at the school could be notified individually. He said the city health department later added it to its public list because health care providers are using the list as a reference.

Snook said the students at the school who hadn't received their measles-mumps-rubella vaccine were excluded from classes per state immunization regulations.

Susan Hiland, a spokeswoman for the district, said letters went out to parents and students before the health department reported the case to the public. The district also put it in a weekly newsletter after the case was confirmed April 23.

“Anybody who would have been affected was notified,” Hiland said.

It's the second school in the Missouri outbreak where other students and staff may have been exposed to the highly contagious illness.

Thirteen unvaccinated students are being held out of classes at South Valley Middle School in the Liberty school district after a student there exposed them to measles on April 18. Two students at two other schools in that district are among the 13 Missouri cases, but health officials said there was no exposure risk at those schools because the ill students were absent during the period of contagiousness.

Measles begins with a high fever and respiratory symptoms like cough and runny nose before proceeding to the telltale red rash associated with the illness. People who think they might have it are encouraged to stay home except to seek medical care, and even then to make sure and call ahead so doctors offices and hospitals can arrange to separate them from other patients.

Most people fully recover from measles, but it can cause potentially fatal complications like pneumonia and, more rarely, encephalitis.

The CDC declared measles eliminated from the United States in 2000, but it's still prevalent in some other countries and people can carry it back to the U.S. and spread it among unvaccinated populations.

The Kansas outbreak started when an infant too young to be vaccinated picked up the virus in Asia and brought it back to the daycare, where it spread to other infants. The Missouri outbreak started when an unvaccinated adult brought it back from another country.

Snook said that so far one thing that sets the Missouri outbreak apart from the Kansas outbreak is that about half of the Missouri cases have been in adults. The department is working to determine how many of them are not vaccinated and how many have had the MMR shot, which is 97 percent effective with two doses.

"We are looking into that," Snook said.