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Five Babies Contract Measles At A Suburban Chicago Day Care Center [UPDATE]

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 5, 2015 7:40PM

Update 3:26 p.m.: Dr. Terry Mason, chief operating officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health, said more cases related to the KinderCare measles outbreak should be expected. "The cat is out of the bag," Mason told the Tribune.

Illinois and Cook County public health officials are investigating a measles outbreak in a suburban Chicago daycare center.

So far, five babies have contracted the highly contagious respiratory disease at the KinderCare Learning Center in Palatine. Four of the babies are from the suburbs and one from Chicago; their exact locations have been withheld, citing privacy concerns. Lab tests confirmed measles in two of the babies while doctors are waiting for test results on the other three.

KinderCare staff, students and parents have been made aware of the outbreak and anyone who doesn’t have an updated vaccination record will be barred from entering the center until Feb. 24. KinderCare spokeswoman Colleen Moran said the move is “a precaution,” per the advice of the Cook County Health Department.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and Cook County Health Department released a joint statement urging people to vaccinate themselves and their children against the disease.

This situation continues to underscore the importance of getting vaccinated. Vaccinations are the safest, most effective way to protect individuals from measles and other potentially dangerous communicable diseases. Individuals who are under the age of one or with certain clinical conditions cannot be vaccinated and are therefore at highest risk for measles. Residents are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated to protect themselves and the most vulnerable members of the community.

Officials said it was unclear if this outbreak was connected to the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland or the first confirmed outbreak of measles in Cook County last month. Measles cases in Illinois have been on a steady climb for years as the anti-vaccination movement has gained traction. Last year there were 23 measles outbreaks across the country.