Kansas law requires children who attend day care or preschool to be immunized with an initial dose of measles-mumps-rubella between 12 and 15 months of age, but there’s no law requiring day care workers to be immunized.

Kansas lawmakers should quickly rectify that to help prevent a future outbreak of the contagious disease.

At least 13 cases of measles have been reported in Johnson, Linn and Miami counties since early March. A separate case was confirmed Thursday at the University of Kansas Hospital.

The outbreak started at an unnamed Johnson County day care and has spread to 14 other sites. Several of the early cases were in infants too young to get the shot, which suggests measles could have spread to them via an infected adult.

State legislators need to act if that’s the case.

Child care providers in Kansas are required to turn in a health assessment, but child care laws do not specifically address immunizations for such workers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the MMR vaccine is approximately 93 to 97 percent effective at preventing measles.

As Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas Executive Director Reva Wywadis noted, when you think about children, you have to think about the safety of the child. …

Kansas lawmakers could take a cue from other states such as California and Illinois that have adopted laws requiring day care workers to have vaccinations for measles and other common contagious diseases.

Without a law on the books, the onus is on day care providers in Kansas to follow KinderCare’s lead to address the issue. …

Opponents argue that no one should be forced by the state to receive medical injections as a condition of employment and say such requirements could cause a financial burden for overworked and underpaid employees. But young children are vulnerable to infectious diseases, and their health must be paramount.

Certain medical and religious exemptions would apply, but requiring day care workers to be vaccinated against measles and other diseases would better protect infants who are too young to receive all of their vaccinations.

And it would greatly reduce the chance of a major outbreak in Kansas.

— The Kansas City Star