A confirmed case of measles in Clay County is affecting more families than the one the with the baby who had the outbreak.
A Northland mother, who did not want to be identified, says she and several other parents got urgent calls Monday from Children's Mercy Hospital.
"A doctor called from Children's Mercy stating that we needed to get my child into the downtown location because they needed to do a measles antibody shot to her because she had been exposed," that mother explained.
Her 9-month-old daughter was at Children's Mercy North on May 6, during the time frame that the infected infant was there.
"She was just the infectious disease doctor," the mother said. "That word infectious is very frightening. I was calmer when she explained the situation."
Her 9-month-old had to get five shots for antibodies.
Doctors usually don't recommend vaccinations until age 1, so her little girl was not protected when she was exposed. She says at least two other babies were in the same boat. Now, they can only wait to see if the reaction worked.
"We are not in the clear for at least 21 days from the exposure," the mother said.
Dr. Natasha Burgert with KC Kids Doc says measles isn't an average contagion.
"Measles is so contagious, that if you sneeze in a room the measles particles can float in the air for up to two hours after you leave the room and you can still be infected just by walking into that room," said Burgert.
Clay County health officials say the baby who put the others at risk likely got exposed while traveling overseas.
Vaccinations have eradicated the disease almost completely in the United States, but it's coming back and largely because of travel.
In 2004, there were 37 confirmed cases. By 2011, there were 220.
Less than half-way through 2014, there are 187. At that rate, the annual number would be pushing 400.
"It's an eye opener," said the Northland mother who treated her baby this week. "I mean I've always vaccinated my children and this is even more of a reason to, not just to protect my child but the people around my child."
Her conviction has now gone from principle to personal, and she hopes it will resonate with other parents as well.
"That's what scared me," she said. "I was like, 'Wow, it's not just that family being exposed. It's everybody in the area, young to old.'"
Her child and the baby who was infected are both below the typical age for vaccination, so their parents weren't ignoring the standard instructions.
But health officials now say that if parents travel abroad with an infant, they should consider vaccinating before age 1.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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