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Health officials with the Illinois Department of Health and Cook County are investigating a cluster of measles at a Palatine day care center.

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

The cluster includes five children under the age of one at the KinderCare Learning Center located at 929 E. Palatine Rd., Palatine, IL.  Laboratory testing has confirmed a measles diagnosis for two of the children. Test results for the three remaining cases are still pending, but have been diagnosed based on clinical and epidemiological criteria.

At this time, the source of infection for the children is not known. Health officials have taken extra precautions to limit the spread. All students, staff and faculty at this facility have been notified and anyone who has not received the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine has been instructed to remain at home and away from unvaccinated individuals for the next 21 days.

In late January, health officials reported a measles case in suburban Cook County. At this time, it is not clear if these cases are linked to the previously confirmed case in suburban Cook County or the outbreak associated with Disneyland.

Before January, there was only 10 measles cases reported in Illinois in the past 5 years.

“There will be more cases,” Dr. Terry Mason, chief operating officer of the Cook County public health department, said Thursday. “This is a highly contagious disease.”

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes fever, red and sore eyes, runny nose, cough and a characteristic rash. The disease can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis and death. Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing or sneezing and can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours. Infected people are contagious from 4 days before their rash starts through 4 days afterwards.

Related: How contagious is measles? Answer: Very

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.

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