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Kansas City measles outbreak reaches 30 cases

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The outbreak of measles in the Kansas City area continues to grow and is now the third largest in the United States this year. In a July 14 e-mail, Ryan Hobart, of the Missouri Department of Health, confirmed 21 cases in his state. On that same day, Sara Belfry, of the Kansas Department of Health, reported nine in her state. All 30 cases are linked and a part of the same outbreak.

Measles has spread beyond the Kansas City metro area to Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita. There have been six measles cases in that area and all are linked to Kansas City. The first two patients were an unvaccinated adult and a child too young to be vaccinated, announced on July 10.

On July 12, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced confirmation of four measles cases which are tied to Kansas City but apparently unrelated to the first two reported illnesses. Three adults working at a local steak house have contracted the disease, and an unvaccinated child exposed at the restaurant has also become ill.

The growing number of measles cases in Kansas and Missouri places this outbreak third nationally for 2014. Only an ongoing outbreak in Ohio and an outbreak early in the year in Southern California have had more cases.

In Ohio, public health workers continue to hold their breath as a second week with no new measles cases passes. The total in the outbreak among Ohio's Amish community remains at 368 through July 14. Pam Palm, the press contact for the Knox County Health Department, told the Examiner on July 10 that 42 days without a new illness must pass before the outbreak is declared over. That deadline would be on or about Aug. 10.

In the State of Washington, a measles outbreak within the Micronesian community of King County has resulted in 12 illnesses. Pierce County has reported two of the 12 measles cases. One patient was exposed in a hospital emergency department and the other is a close contact of that patient. The 12 measles cases are part of a year-to-date total for Washington of 27 illnesses in at least three outbreaks.

On July 14, the Centers for Disease Control released their weekly report on the number of measles cases reported to them. In 2014, through July 11, the CDC has received reported of 566 confirmed cases of measles from 20 states. This is the highest number of reported illnesses since 1995 with the Ohio outbreak accounting for 66 percent of the total.

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