A resurgence of measles in the U.S. has put Illinois doctors on alert for possible cases in this state.
While there isn't an outbreak in Illinois, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the U.S. is experiencing the largest outbreak of measles in decades.
“We are seeing a rise in children in the U.S. with measles because international travel has become so common," Loyola University Health System Dr. Nadia Qureshi said. "People bring it back from endemic areas and because it’s highly contagious. If your child is not vaccinated, they are at-risk.”
Travel, coupled with a trend against vaccinating children, has led to the resurgence, doctors said.
There are some cases in Illinois, and though it isn't as bad as in other states, Qureshi and other Illinois doctors said parents should be prepared by knowing the signs and symptoms of this highly contagious viral infection.
The infection is spread through airborne droplets and can live in the air for up to two hours.
"Most infected people don’t know they are already contagious since the characteristic rash doesn’t appear until four days after a person has already been spreading the disease."
Initial symptoms include cough, fever, runny nose, watery eyes and feeling run-down. Tiny white spots may appear in the patient's mouth after a few days and a rash may break out on their face that runs down the body. Patients may also experience an extremely high fever.
“Many people think it’s just a virus and my child will get better," Qureshi said. "Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. This virus can make your child miserable and can lead to serious complications and even death."