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UPDATE: Health Officials Name New Possible Measles Exposure Sites In Kansas

Alissa Eckert
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Update, April 19: This story includes newly identified cases and exposure sites (previously identified exposure sites and dates that are now past the time for symptoms to develop have been removed).

Eighteen measles cases have now been identified in Johnson, Linn and Miami counties since March 8, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

In addition, the Clay County Public Health Center reported on Wednesday that a child who attends Warren Hills Elementary School in Liberty, Missouri, has been diagnosed with measles, although the center does not believe other students or staff were exposed.

Four cases have been confirmed in Kansas City, Missouri, although health officials do not believe the Kansas and Missouri cases are related.

Health departments have pinpointed where and when the individuals were infected. Because people can acquire measles anywhere from a week to three weeks after exposure, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says there are concerns that additional cases may surface.

The agency urges people who are ill or exhibiting symptoms to remain at home unless they’re seeking medical care.

KDHE says people who visited the following locations on the dates and times listed may have been exposed to measles:

  • Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, 13300 Kenneth Rd., Leawood, Kansas; April 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Blue Mound Federated Church, General Delivery, Blue Mound, Kansas; April 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Casey's General Store, 207 S. 9th St., Mound City, Kansas; April 2 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., March 30 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Olathe Health Family Medicine, 2017 E. Market St., La Cygne, Kansas; April 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., March 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., March 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Linn County Courthouse, 318 Chestnut St., Mound City, Kansas; March 30 from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Applebee's, 16110 W. 135 St., Olathe, Kansas; March 30 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Main Street Liquor, 411 E, Main St., Osawatomie, Kansas; March 30 from 9:30 to 11:00 p.m.
  • Dollar General, 110 S, 9 St., Mound City, Kansas, March 29 from 5:45 to 8:00 p.m.

Nancy Tausz, health services division director at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, says the 11 locations were identified through contact tracing, the process of identifying individuals who have spent time in a room or enclosed space when an infectious individual was present or for up to two hours later. The outbreak started in a Johnson County child-care facility. 
"The investigation is still ongoing," she says, and additional cases may turn up.

"They're very fluid when you do investigations, so it still remains to be seen," she says. 

Except for 2014, when three cases were reported, the county had zero cases between 2012 and now. The eight cases in Johnson County already equal the total in 2011.

Initial symptoms of measles include high fever, coughing, runny nose and red, watery eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tiny white spots typically appears inside the mouth two or three days later, followed by a rash that spreads downward on the body. The disease is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing.

The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the airspace where an infected person has coughed or sneezed, the CDC says.

Measles is preventable with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The CDC recommends that children get two doses, the first at 12 through 15 months of age and the second at 4 through 6 years of age. Two doses are 97 percent effective, according to the CDC; one dose is 93 percent effective.

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor for KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter, @DanMargolies.

Alex Smith is a health reporter for KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @AlexSmithKCUR.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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