With measles cases continuing to appear in Kansas, Pratt Regional Medical Center is keeping alert to handle any case that might come to their facility.
The latest information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports eight cases reported in Sedgwick County and three in Johnson County.
The two latest cases were an infant too young to be vaccinated and an adult that had never been vaccinated.
At PRMC, nothing has come through the emergency room and no reports of measles from the Pratt County Health Department, said Cecile Pearce, PRMC infection control nurse.
The hospital is updating the staff with the latest information with memos and a weekly newsletter, Pearce said.
If any case should come to the hospital or the Pratt County Health Department or a clinic, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment would be notified immediately.
Measles is easily transmitted. It can be transmitted from four days prior to four days after the rash appears.
The symptoms of measles are fever, blotchy rash on skin from head to trunk to lower extremities, cough and runny nose, red watery eyes, feeling run down and achy, tiny white spots found inside the mouth with bluish-white centers, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Measles can have some serious complications including pneumonia, ear infections, diarrhea and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
“It’s scary for children who are too young to get vaccinated,” Pearce said.
People most at risk for illness and complications are infants, children under 5, adults over 20, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.
If a person hasn’t had the vaccination it’s recommended they should go ahead and get it even as an adult. Vaccinations are available at the local health department.
If a person is showing symptoms, they need stay at home unless they are going to a health care provider. But before they go, they need to call ahead so the staff can take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of the disease to other patients and staff, Pearce said.
If a person comes to the emergency room with symptoms that could mean measles, KDHE recommends asking patients who have fever and a rash if they have any history of international travel, had any contact with foreign visitors, have they transitioned through an international airport and have they had any exposure to a measles patient.
If a patient is suspected of measles, they are immediately masked. If an infant with symptoms comes into the emergency room or into a clinic, a light blanket may be placed over their head to help control spreading the disease.
They should also be moved out of a waiting room to a triage area or a private room to help control infection.
Pearce said she didn’t think she would ever see a case of whooping cough or measles. Even though measles is a vaccine-preventable disease, it has not been eradicated. The KDHE numbers indicate 20 million cases and 164,000 deaths world wide each year. From Jan.1 to July 3, the U.S. has recorded 554 cases in 20 states.
The Centers for Disease Control report that one in 20 children that get the disease will develop pneumonia and for every 1,000 cases in children, one or two will die. It is transmitted by air through breathing, sneezing or coughing.