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Health Officials Name Possible Exposure Sites As Measles Spread In Johnson, Miami, Linn Counties

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
High-resolution image of a 3D illustration of a measles virus particle studded with glycoprotein tubercles.

Eight measles cases have now been identified in Johnson County, with another two in Linn and Miami counties, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Health departments in the three counties have pinpointed where and when the individuals were infected. Because people can acquire measles anywhere from a week to three weeks after exposure, KDHE said there are concerns that additional cases may be identified.

The agency is urging people who are ill or exhibiting symptoms to remain at home unless they’re seeking medical care.

KDHE says people who visited the following locations on the dates and times listed may have been exposed to measles:

  • Auburn Pharmacy, 625 E Main. St., Mound City; March 13 from 4:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
  • Aldi’s, 15290 W. 119th St., Olathe; March 2 from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Payless Discount Foods, 2101 E. Santa Fe St., Olathe; March 6 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • El Potro Mexican Café, 602 N Pearl St., Paola; March 7 from 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas Emergency Department, 5808 W 110th St., Overland Park; March 8 and March 10 in the morning
  • AMC Dine-In Studio 28, 12075 S. Strang Line Rd., Olathe; March 9 from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Budget Coin Laundry, 798 E Main St., Gardner; March 9 from 8 to 11 p.m.
  • Olathe YMCA swimming pool and locker room, 21400 W. 153rd St., Olathe; March 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Bath and Body Works at Legends Outlets, 1803 Village W. Pkwy., Kansas City, Kansas; March 10 from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Crazy 8 at Legends Outlets, 1843 Village W. Pkwy., Kansas City, Kansas; March 10 from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Orange Leaf, 11524 W 135th St., Overland Park; March 10 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Nancy Tausz, health services division director at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, says the 11 locations were identified through contact tracing, the process of identifying individuals who have spent time in a room or enclosed space where an infectious individual was present or for up to two hours later. The outbreak started in a Johnson County child-care facility.
"The investigation is still ongoing," she says, and additional cases may turn up.

"They're very fluid when you do investigations, so it still remains to be seen," she says.

Except for 2014, when three cases were reported, the county had zero cases between 2012 and now. The eight cases in Johnson County already equal the total in 2011.

Initial symptoms of measles include high fever, coughing, runny nose and red, watery eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tiny white spots typically appear inside the mouth two or three days later, followed by a rash that spreads downward on the body. The disease is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing.

The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the airspace where an infected person has coughed or sneezed, the CDC says.

Measles is preventable with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The CDC recommends that children get two doses, the first at 12 through 15 months of age and the second at 4 through 6 years of age. Two doses are 97 percent effective, according to the CDC; one dose is 93 percent effective.


Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor for KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

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