Measles in Kansas City area.

Kansas City Metro area health departments are working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to investigate a cluster of measles cases. To date, health officials have identified 13 confirmed cases and two probable cases around the metro that are all possibly linked to each other. Rapid identification of cases and vaccination of people at risk of infection are the primary tools in stopping the spread of this highly contagious disease. These cases are centered in a large community of immigrants from Micronesia living in the Kansas City area. In recent years, Kansas City, along with Portland, Oregon, has become a major center for immigrants coming from Micronesia. After landing in Kansas City, new immigrants frequently relocate to other communities in Missouri. While school aged children are frequently vaccinated against measles and other diseases, adults and preschool aged children are frequently not vaccinated. Lack of vaccination, coupled with living in large, extended family households provides fertile ground for spreading measles. The tendency to come together with other members of the Micronesian community in church or other social settings also contributes to the spread within the community. While vaccination with MMR or MMRV vaccine is the primary means of controlling measles, there are certain populations for whom immune globulin is recommended. Note that CDC’s recommendations on the use of IG for pregnant women and the immunocompromised have changed since the publication of the 2012 Red Book. The current measles section of the CDIRM contains the updated recommendations. Please see page 11 of 14 of the CDIRM click here for the details. Local health agencies with known communities of Micronesians should think about reaching out to those communities to provide education regarding measles and to offer vaccination to those who are either unvaccinated or who are unsure of their vaccination status. Physicians and other reporters should be reminded that, due to the short time period available to provide prophylaxis to exposed contacts, suspected cases of measles should be reported immediately upon first suspicion without waiting for lab confirmation.

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