7 people, mostly babies, fall ill with measles in Johnson, Miami Counties

File photo. (KCTV5)

A note from the Board of Public Health says there are now seven cases of measles in Johnson and Miami Counties.

The majority of the cases are babies who are too young to be vaccinated for the disease.

Six infants who all go to the same childcare facility in Johnson County are part of the outbreak.

The other person was seen at a doctor’s office the same day as one of the cases at the daycare, but they were seen several hours apart. That person is a resident of Miami County and is not associated with the daycare.

The Health Department has not released the names of the daycare or the doctor’s office.

Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus and it is highly contagious. Severe cases could be deadly.

The mother of one of those babies says her child is better now, but that it was a heartbreaking experience.

Hanna Meisinger noticed her 11-month-old baby girl, Lyric, wasn’t feeling well on Feb. 23.

She had a high fever for a couple of days and was diagnosed with thrush by a doctor. A couple days later, Meisinger said a red rash appeared on her face.

“She had a hard time eating and drinking anything,” she said. “I woke up and looked at her and her lips got really swollen.”

More days went by before Lyric was finally admitted to a hospital where doctors tested her for measles and it was confirmed that she had fallen ill with the disease.

Lyric is one of the seven babies from the daycare who have been diagnosed with measles.

“I just kept on hoping that she’d get through it,” said Meisinger. “I had nightmares about her dying, even, and not being able to make it out of what she was going through.”

“It broke my heart just seeing her,” Meisinger said. “She’s already in pain and they’re taking blood from her, swabbing her mouth.”

KCTV5 News has reached out to the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment for more information.

They said they are working together with the state's health department to try and pinpoint where things started.

They also contacted Meisinger to investigate. “They told me to write down everywhere that we went for the last month,” she explained.

Meisinger hopes they pinpoint where the disease started soon.

“Now I’m just worried about all the other babies that were in that room and I don’t know,” she said. “I hope they figure out what caused it. I know it came from someone that’s not vaccinated. That’s all I know, is that’s the only way that it comes.”

Meisinger said Lyric is current on her vaccinations but that doctors said the measles vaccine isn’t normally given until children are between 12 and 15 months old.

The disease is one of about 60 that the Johnson County Health Department says must be reported immediately.

Doctors said symptoms show up differently in infants. The rash may not show up for days, so it may look more like the flu.

“Measles is spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing,” said KDHE Chief Health Officer, Dr. Greg Lakin. “It is so contagious that any person who is exposed to it, and is not immune, will likely contract the disease. Measles can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears.”

UPDATE:

Later on Friday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment released the following update:To date, KDHE and Johnson County have been able to identify where and when each case became infected. KDHE urges people who are ill or exhibiting measles-like symptoms to stay at home unless they are seeking medical care. Before visiting a healthcare provider, call ahead so that the provider can take measures to protect other patients and staff.

Johnson County and KDHE continue to investigate this outbreak and are working to identify contacts. The average number of days between when a person is exposed to measles, and when they first start showing symptoms is approximately 10 to 14 days (range of 7 to 21 days). Secondary cases are now appearing outside of the daycare. There is concern that some individuals in the general population may have potentially been exposed to persons with measles while they were infectious. Be aware that if you have visited one or more of these locations on the dates and times listed you may have been exposed to measles: Aldi’s; 15290 W. 119th St Olathe, KS 66062; on March 2nd from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM Payless Discount Foods; 2101 E. Santa Fe St, Olathe, KS; on March 6th from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM El Potro Mexican Café; 602 N Pearl St, Paola, KS on March 7th from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas; 5808 W 110th St, Overland Park, KS on March 8th and March 10th in the morning Budget Coin Laundry; 798 E Main St, Gardner, KS; on March 9th from 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM Olathe YMCA swimming pool and locker room; 21400 W. 153rd St, Olathe, KS; on March 10th from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM Bath and Body Works at Legends Outlets; 1803 Village W Pkwy, Kansas City, KS; on March 10th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Crazy 8 at Legends Outlets; 1843 Village W Pkwy, Kansas City, KS; on March 10th after 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Orange Leaf; 11524 W 135th St Overland Park, KS; on March 10th from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PMMeasles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. Symptoms of measles typically begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red watery eyes. Three to five days after symptoms begin a rash develops and usually starts on the face at the hairline and spreads down to the neck, trunk, arms, and legs. The best way to prevent measles is to get the MMR vaccine. If you have had measles or have been vaccinated, your risk of contracting the disease is extremely low.

KDHE and Johnson County recommend that persons who are exposed stay home if they have a fever, except to see a healthcare provider. Before visiting a healthcare provider, call ahead so that the provider can take measures to protect other patients and staff.

For questions call the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment at 913-477-8343 or the KDHE Epidemiology hotline at 877-427-7317.Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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