Pediatricians address parents fears during Kansas City area meas - KCTV5 News

Pediatricians address parents fears during Kansas City area measles outbreak

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Pediatricians at the University of Kansas Health Systems have had an influx of parents coming in and asking about the measles. (KCTV5) Pediatricians at the University of Kansas Health Systems have had an influx of parents coming in and asking about the measles. (KCTV5)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

A Kansas City area measles outbreak has many parents on edge.

Many are deciding to stay home and not venture out of their home for fear of their children contracting the illness.

Pediatricians at the University of Kansas Health Systems have had an influx of parents coming in and asking about the measles.

They say there is a lot that parents need to know.

Experts say the measles start like anything else, with coughing, sneezing and a runny nose. But, a few days after the first symptoms, parents may begin to see a red, raised rash that starts on a child’s forehead and works its way down. Those are the measles.

The recent outbreak comes as many children throughout the metro are out of school for spring break.

Pediatricians say parents should not be scared to take their children out of the home. They say parents just need to be careful.

"You can go do things with your family and your children but I think people should be asking good questions about where they’re going and who’s around them," said Dr. Steve Lauer, a pediatrician at the University of Kansas Health System.

For those traveling with children that are not vaccinated or are spending time with kids who have recently traveled, doctors say parents should be more cautious.

"The recycling of air in airplanes, closed quarters where people are really bunched up around each other in lines is certainly ideal for the spread of measles,” Lauer said. "All that travel from different parts of the world crossing paths from airports, resorts and that chance to spread that disease that was in one part of the world, 3 or 4 days later, can be almost in any place." 

Lauer says crossing paths with people from around the world, like at an airport or resort can put children at a higher risk.

"Many of the outbreaks have been when somebody is coming back from a country where there are already measles existing," Lauer said. "They travel and come back into an area where there are unvaccinated children and start spreading the infection." 

Doctors also warn about the risks that follow a child under one-year-old. They say children that age are at a higher risk to contract the disease because they are not old enough to get the vaccine.

Lauer says the vaccine has been incredibly effective for the past 30 years. But, the vaccine's success is now causing a social awareness problem for some families.

Experts say they've noticed that younger parents are the most concerned.

"Parents who didn’t have measles and potentially their parents who didn’t and now they have babies and they’re going, ‘what are measles?’," Lauer said.

For the past three decades, parents have not had to deal with the measles.

Lauer says the Center for Disease Control announced that measles in the Americas had been eradicated. He says getting a measles vaccination is still important.

Ten cases of the measles have already been reported. All were reported in the state of Kansas.

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