Measles is a viral disease. It is highly contagious condition and spreads mainly through the air by breathing, coughing, and sneezing. Though you become immune after just one exposure, it can spread extremely quickly and becomes dangerous if it infects a community of people who have never had exposure to the virus. Recently, 10 cases of measles appeared in Kansas. State officials are warning people in multiple counties to take extra caution, because measles could be present in their communities.
Symptoms of Measles
The symptoms of measles often include skin rash, fever, cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis. You will notice symptoms nine to 11 days after exposure. Other symptoms could include:
- Watery eyes
- Light sensitivity
- White spots in the mouth, insides of cheeks, and throat
- Body aches
Measles in Kansas
Many parents throughout Kansas are beginning to feel nervous about the increasing number of measles infections. Johnson County has eight cases. Linn County has one. Miami County has another case. Medical professionals have advised people throughout Kansas and Missouri to get their vaccinations as soon as possible.
People are generally safe if they have been vaccinated or had measles in the past. However, Kansas offers parents the ability to apply for medical and religious exemption for vaccinates, so not all children have received the necessary vaccination. In the 2016-2017 school year, 1.8% of children had not had the measles vaccine.
The influx of measles infections hit Kansas when many children were on spring break. Pediatricians have advised parents not to be afraid to take their children out of the house. They say that parents should simply be careful where they take their children and with whom they interact until the measles outbreak subsists. Parents should ask questions about where their children are going to ensure they will not be risking infection.
Kansas pediatricians are more worried about families with children who have traveled or interacted with families who have traveled. Airplanes are especially dangerous, as large groups of people enclosed in spaces for long times breathe recycled air. If someone on the plane has measles or another airborne infection, it could transfer to another passenger. Any traveling can expose children to dangerous infections. Because measles is generally not as present in the United States, many previous outbreaks occurred because a traveler brought back the virus from another country that has a higher concentration of infections. Even just one infected person bringing back the virus can be dangerous because of how quickly and easily the measles spreads among people.
Medical professionals have noticed that young parents tend to be more nervous about measles than older parents. Many young people never had measles themselves and possibly did not have close family members that contracted it. Parents in the United States have not had to deal with measles for the past 30 years. The previous absence of measles leads young parents to feel more concerned when their young babies and children are infected.
Doctors are also releasing warnings specifically targeted toward families with infants. Children beneath the age of one are more vulnerable to measles because they are not old enough to get the vaccination. Families with infants should be especially careful with whom they interact and where they go while the outbreak is still present in Kansas.
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