Measles rates highest in years, Kansans may be at risk

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Health officials are encouraging Kansans to check their vaccine records and see if they have received the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

This comes after the U.S. saw the highest number of measles cases in 2019 since 1992. There were a total of 1,276 cases in 31 states, according to the CDC.

“As a disease measles is so contagious that if someone contracts it, up to 90% of the individuals who come into contact with this person who are unvaccinated have the potential of contracting the disease themselves,” said Craig Barnes, Division Manager for Shawnee County Health Department.

With recent travels during the holidays, Barnes said Kansans are potentially at risk because of the low percentage of MMR vaccines received in the state.

90.8% of Kindergartners received the MMR vaccine last school year, according to the CDC. A 95% vaccination rate is usually full immunity to a disease, Barnes said.

Measles cases are predominately due to travel outside of the U.S. where it is tracked, then brought into the United States and spread among unvaccinated individuals, Barnes said.

The MMR vaccine is received in two dosages, typically at the ages of 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years, according to the CDC. The individual will be covered by 97% with both dosages, and only 93% with one.

Barnes recommends checking vaccine records to see if you or your children have received the MMR vaccine and if not to get one.

Symptoms of measles include a high fever, runny nose, red and scratchy eyes, and a cough.

If you have recently traveled outside of the country or been in contact with someone who may have measles and are experiencing any of these symptoms, Barnes recommends making an appointment with your primary care physician.

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