Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials confirmed one case of measles in Illinois Friday in a visitor to Illinois from out of the country who became ill last week and tested positive for measles. This person is no longer infectious.
“This individual visited several locations in northern Illinois, including hotels and a college graduation,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.
“Measles is highly contagious and a person with no immunity can become infected simply by being in the same room with someone who has the disease. To eliminate the potential spread of the disease, we are working with the Chicago, DeKalb, and Evanston health departments to notify anyone known to have had potential contact with this person about their possible exposure.”
Potential exposures in Illinois may have occurred to:
- Guests and staff at the Holmes Student Center Guest Room Hotel on the Northern Illinois University Campus, 340 Carroll Ave, DeKalb on May 13-15.
- Attendees of the Northern Illinois University College of Business reception at the Barsema Hall Atrium on May 13 beginning at 10 a.m. and a graduation ceremony at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center, 1525 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb beginning at 1:30 p.m.
- Customers and employees at Walmart, 2300 Sycamore Rd, DeKalb on May 13 from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. on May 14.
- Customers and employees at Panda Express, 1015 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb on May 14 from noon until 3 p.m.
- Guests and employees at the Chicago Essex Inn, 800 S Michigan Ave, Chicago on May 15-16.
A person who was potentially exposed and is experiencing a fever of 101 F or higher, cough, runny nose, and red eyes with or without rash, should call their health care provider to arrange for care. These individuals should not go directly to their doctor’s office or the emergency room before they call as they could infect others around them.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes fever, red and sore eyes, runny nose, cough, and a characteristic rash. Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing or sneezing and can remain in the air and on surfaces up to two hours. Infected people are contagious from four days before their rash starts through four days after.
While people who are fully vaccinated (two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine) are at low risk of becoming infected, those who have not been vaccinated could become ill. Two doses of the vaccine are 97 percent effective at preventing measles infection and are required for all Illinois school children.
“This case in Illinois is a reminder of the importance of immunizations,” said Director Shah. “While Illinois did have a cluster of measles cases last year, we typically only see a handful of cases each year. However, measles is much more common in other countries and is only a plane ride away. It’s important that anyone who can be vaccinated get vaccinated. It will help protect you as well as others who can’t be vaccinated, like infants younger than a year old.”
Health officials will continue to investigate the source of the disease, identify and follow-up with anyone who may have potentially been exposed, and be vigilant for new cases. Northern Illinois University is alerting students, facility, and staff. Health care providers who suspect a case of measles should contact their local health department immediately.