JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — Johnson County health officials are warning about some recent cases of measles. The illness is now confirmed in three babies from a single day care center.
On a beautiful spring day, it is playtime in the park. The daughters of best friends Ann Dodson and Valerie Regan are 7, 3, and 2. Their little girls should avoid some serious sicknesses because their moms chose to vaccinate.
“It felt like the good outweighed the bad. Then you hear stories like this and kind of makes you feel like it’s a good decision,” said parent Ann Dodson.
The story she’s referring to is the diagnosis of measles in three infants in Johnson County, all within one day care center. The county is now trying to determine if it could spread further.
“We ask for an activity log is what we call it. Where have you been? Who have you been in contact with?” said Nancy Tausz, Johnson County Health Services division director.
While that investigation is still ongoing, experts say the sick kids likely came into contact with someone who hasn’t been vaccinated.
“Could’ve been a child, could’ve been an adult — someone who wasn’t vaccinated probably and obviously spread the disease because it’s very infectious,” said Tausz.
The babies now confirmed to have measles were also too young to get the MMR shot themselves. All were under age one, and the MMR vaccine is given between ages 12 and 15 months.
It’s all the more reason Dodson and Regan hope parents will think long and hard about the consequences of choosing not to vaccinate, not only for their families, but also for others.
“I’m hoping since they’re vaccinated they won’t get the measles or anything crazy. I just worry for those kids. I don’t know what they have to fight against that kind of stuff,” said mom Valerie Regan.
Daycares and schools are required to check vaccine records, but Kansas does offer medical and religious waivers.
“So it’s important to remember to vaccinate your other kids, yourself because those little kids are too young to be vaccinated so they are more at risk,” said Tausz.
In this case, the specific center where the outbreak happened won’t be named for privacy reasons. But families in contact with the sick kids have been notified.
A letter also went out to every childcare in Johnson County to warn them of parents looking for temporary care, since exposed kids shouldn’t be in daycare for three weeks.
Measles usually comes with flu-like systems and a rash often pops up about four days after exposure. The illness is highly contagious. So if you even slightly suspect your child might have it, call their doctor’s office or hospital first, so they can isolate the child and limit the spread.