Health officials: Iowans exposed to the measles - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health officials: Iowans exposed to the measles

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The Iowa State Department of Health issuing a warning after people were exposed to measles inside two Iowa fast food restaurants.

The DPH says someone from Missouri visited a Hardee's restaurant in Des Moines on Friday the 13th from 8:15-11:45 am and a Panera Bread in Ankeny on Monday 16th from noon to 4:00 pm. Anyone who was at the fast-food restaurants at the same time is asked to immediately contact their health care provider to get checked out. 

Just last month Kansas had its own outbreak, 18 people were infected. Those cases can be traced back to a daycare center. 

We spoke with a doctor with the Black Hawk County Health Department and the Iowa Child Care Services Resource and Referral center to see what policies Iowa has in place to prevent an outbreak.

Mary Janssen with the Child Care Services says Iowa has good immunization and vaccination laws for child care centers. "As a program, you're caring for children here in Iowa you are so well supported. So I think that kind of ranks us a little higher to say that we pool our resources to support those children and those providers," says Janssen.  

A high fever, cough, and runny nose; symptoms like these might sound like the flu but add a rash and you could have a case of the measles. 

The extremely contagious virus can be spread just by coughing or sneezing. That's why the state health department is telling anyone who was in the infected Des Moines or Ankeny areas to get medical attention immediately.

Doctor Nafissa Cisse-Egbuonye with the Black Hawk County Health Department says the best way to avoid infection is vaccinated, "I encourage people to really get vaccinations and to vaccinate their kids." 

However, some do not heed that advice. Dr. Cisse-Egbuonye says they run into some problems "... we do have two exemptions, a religious exemption and medical exemption.". Adding some parents can get exemptions for the vaccines but that child care services are still able to set their own additional standards. 

The key here, the Health Departments says that the incubation period for measles is about seven days so anyone exposed in the Des Moines area should be seeing symptoms already. 

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