(PALATINE) A cluster of measles is being investigated at a Palatine daycare center, state and Cook County officials said Thursday.
The cluster includes five babies less than a year old one who have ties to KinderCare Learning Center, 929 E. Palatine Rd., the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. Two of the five babies have been confirmed to have measles. Test results for the three others are still pending.
All five are from northwest suburban Cook County. Their ages were not given.
It was not known if family members of the babies had been vaccinated. The county health department said staff at KinderCare are required to be vaccinated to work there.
“There will be more cases. . . . We shouldn’t be surprised about that,” said Dr. Terry Mason, chief operating officer at Cook County Department of Public Health. ”The cat is out of the bag.”
But he emphasized that the vast majority of suburban Cook County residents have been vaccinated and therefore have a very low risk of contracting measles.
Officials said there are 10 more children from the daycare center who may have been exposed to measles. All were too young to be vaccinated for measles, the county health department said. Parents of those 10 have been notified that their child is to stay home for now.
The source of the infection is not yet known, the Illinois Department of Public Health and Cook County Department of Public Health said.
Cook County Department of Public Health got two calls from Northwest Community Hospital on Sunday about sick infants, who were later found to have been at the same daycare center in Palatine. They alerted the daycare on Monday.
Even though both sick infants went to the same hospital as the first person who was identified last week as having measles this year, the county health department said they have not confirmed any link between that person or the December outbreak in Disneyland in California, which has infected almost 100 people with measles so far.
All students, staff and faculty have been notified and anyone who has not received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine has been instructed to stay at home and away from unvaccinated children for the next 21 days, the statement said.
Colleen Moran, a spokeswoman for the KinderCare Learning Center, said: “We are following Public Health officials’ guidance and excluding unvaccinated children and staff who may have been exposed to the virus from our center until February 24. We also gave the center a deep clean last night.”
Moran said they would “closely monitor the situation here and elsewhere and . . . keep our center families apprised of our response.”
Last week, a suburban Cook County resident was reported to have this year’s first confirmed case of measles in Illinois.
State and county officials warned at that time that other people could have been exposed at three locations: Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights; Supermercado Guzman in Palatine and Vista Clinic, also in Palatine.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says children should be given the first dose of MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age. The second dose should be given before the start of kindergarten at 4 to 6 years of age.
Illinois requires vaccination for students and children in daycare, unless there are religious objections.
Yet, according to the CDC, 1 in 12 children in the United States do not receive the recommended first dose of MMR vaccine on time.
The county health department could not recall another outbreak like what they are now seeing in Illinois with measles.
“In Illinois, there have been about 10 documented cases over the last 5 years and these are sporadic cases. We haven’t seen anything like this in many years, where there’s a cluster of multiple cases,” Dr. Rachel Rubin, a senior public health medical officer with the county health department.
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