There are no measles cases in Pratt County and none have been diagnosed in the state of Kansas in 2019, but Pratt County Health Department Administrator Darci Van Der Vyver said it is still important for people to be aware of what is happening around the United States.
"The United States is currently experiencing the largest number of measles diagnosis since the disease was declared eradicated in the country years ago," she said. "We are fortunate that Kansas is not among states experiencing an outbreak, but in this day and age, people travel and many have children and grandchildren living in other states. We need to be aware that we have a very serious problem on our hands."
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 704 cases of measles have been reported in the United States between January 1 and April 26 this year. Of those reported cases, 71 percent were individuals who were unvaccinated and 18 percent had an unknown vaccination status. Eleven percent were vaccinated.
There were no deaths or cases of encephalitis reported to the CDC in association with the reported measles cases, but 66 patients were hospitalized and 24 got pneumonia as a result of the disease.
The vast majority of measles cases (98 percent) were U.S. residents. International travelers accounted for 44 of the cases, which was recorded as a U.S. resident who became infected in another country and returned to the United States. The top three countries where travelers became infected so far in 2019 include the Philippines, Ukraine and Israel, according to CDC.
New York and New Jersey are the top two states currently experiencing measles outbreaks.
Van Der Vyver shared some more general information about measles.
Individuals may not be vaccinated for many reasons. Some adults may not be aware they need the vaccine. Some children may not be up-to –date either because the child is unable to be vaccinated or because the caregiver refuses vaccination.
There is no treatment or cure for measles. Some children may have very mild symptoms but others may face more serious complications, like pneumonia and encephalitis.
CDC’s MMR vaccine routine recommendations are as follows: • Children 12 months of age or older should have 2 doses, the first dose at age 12 to 15 month and the second dose between 4 to 6 years. • Adults who do not have evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine. • Certain persons should receive two doses of MMR. This includes healthcare personnel (not just clinical staff), students at post-secondary institutions (such as colleges or vocational schools), and international travelers.
 CDC’s MMR vaccine travel recommendations are as follows for international travel: • Infants 6 months through 11 months of age should have 1 dose of MMR vaccine. • Children 12 months of age and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days. • Adults with documentation of one dose of MMR vaccine should get a second dose. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.
"Now is a good time to dig out those vaccine records and check if everyone in the family is vaccinated," Van Der Vyver said. "Especially with the onset of summer and family vacation plans. International travelers really need to be up on vaccinations to prevent any possible complications."