So far an outbreak of measles in Kansas, specifically Wichita and Sedgwick County, has not made its way to Harvey County. The outbreak appears to have started in a Wichita restaurant, according the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
According to the Harvey County Health Department, there are no cases in Harvey County. Officials did say the disease is very contagious to those who have not been vaccinated.
"It is extremely contagious. If you have been exposed or think you have it, do not go to your doctor — call them. You can spread it just sitting in the waiting room," said Skip Cowan, community services coordinator for the Harvey County Health Department.
There have been six cases in Sedgwick — several of them traced back to a restaurant worker who was working at the end of June and beginning of July.
Due to the concern of transmission to the public, health officials are requesting anyone who dined at Sal’s Japanese Steakhouse, 6829 E. Kellogg Dr. in Wichita, on the following dates: June 20, 23, 25, 29, July 3, 5, and July 7, and later developed an illness with fever and rash to contact their health care provider.
Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. With the creation of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, measles cases have generally been rare in the United States; however, it still sickens approximately 20 million and kills 164,000 people worldwide each year.
Cowan said the disease spreads most quickly among those who are not vaccinated — and the first vaccination doses begin with infants between 12 and 15 months old.
"Anyone under a year old is very susceptible," Cowan said.
There has been a resurgence of measles cases in the United States in 2014. From Jan. 1, 2014 through July 3, 2014, 554 confirmed measles cases have been reported in 20 states. This is the highest number of cases since indigenous measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.
Measles is highly contagious and 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:
• Blotchy rash on the skin, which spreads from the head to the trunk then to the lower extremities (Measles can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears.)
• Runny nose
• Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
• Feeling run down, achy
• Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik spots)
For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/features/Measles/index.html