Johnson County confirms 3 measles cases among infants at day care

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment says it has confirmed cases of measles among three infants who all attended the same day care facility.

The county did not name the facility the infants attended in its announcement.

All three children are under 1 year of age, which is too young to have received the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine. The health department said it is continuing to investigate the case, and that it has informed people who may have been exposed to the virus about the risk.

As a preventative measure, the county will require the infected children and those who may have come in contact with them to stay out of the day care facility for three weeks.

“Any child that has been exposed to measles should not attend any childcare facility or school,” said the department in a release. “This protects the community from further spread.”

The infection, which is rare in the United States, can pose serious health risks to children under 5 years of age, people older than 20, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

The virus is airborne, spread through breathing, coughing and sneezing. People who are exposed to the measles virus tend to begin showing symptoms in one to two weeks. The most common symptoms, according to the health department, are:

  • Fever
  • 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.)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Feeling run down, achy
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)

“Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles in children and adults. Make sure children have the MMR vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old, and again before they enter kindergarten,” said the county’s health department director Lougene Marsh.

According to the CDC, there have been just 13 reported measles cases in the U.S. through Feb. 24. The infants represent the first cases in Kansas this year.