Infants Diagnosed With Measles at Suburban KinderCare

Public health officials said “this situation continues to underscore the importance of getting vaccinated"

Public health officials on Thursday said they're investigating a "cluster of measles" at a KinderCare Learning Center in northwest suburban Chicago.

Diagnoses for two children were confirmed and test results for three remaining cases were pending, though they have been diagnosed by clinical and epidemiological criteria, Dr. Terry Mason, the CEO of the Cook County Department of Public Health, said during an early afternoon press conference.

Another 10 children are at-risk of contracting measles, he said. A majority of those who may have been exposed are too young for a vaccination, Mason said.

There so far is no link between these cases and the adult case confirmed a little more than a week ago, Mason said. Additionally, there is no link to the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland.

"There will be more cases. This is a highly contagious disease," Mason told reporters. "We will do everything we can to identify if there is a point-source to this ... but at some point the cat's out of the bag."

All students, staff and faculty at the Palatine daycare were notified of the diagnoses and anyone who has not received a measles vaccination has been told to stay at home and away from unvaccinated people for the next 21 days.

"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," KinderCare Learning Center said in a statement. "We also gave the center a deep clean last night. We will continue to closely monitor the situation here and elsewhere and to keep our center families apprised of our response."

The measles outbreak that originated at Disneyland in December has grown to 87 cases, health officials in California said last month. Seventy-three of the cases are in California, with the rest in Arizona, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Nebraska and Mexico.

Last month, officials said a case of measles was confirmed in suburban Chicago, though it was not clear if it was related to the Disneyland outbreak. 

Just 10 cases of measles have been reported in Illinois over the last five years, IDPH Director Nirav Shah said following the first diagnosis.

Public health officials said in a statement “this situation continues to underscore the importance of getting vaccinated.”

The diagnoses come just one day after the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against believing myths about vaccines.

"I've talked to many people who are reluctant about vaccines and one thing that I find repeatedly is that people may not realize that these diseases are still around and that keeping them at bay requires us to continue to get vaccinated," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden told NBC News.

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 four days before their rash starts through four days afterwards.

While officials say the measles cases seem to be focused in the northwest suburban Cook County region, any resident who is unvaccinated and experiences symptoms of a high fever and a rash should call their local health department as well as their healthcare provider.

Contact Us