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Illinois health officials confirmed the state’s first case of measles in four years on Friday.
The Cook County Health Department reported the suspected case to the Illinois Department of Public Health late last week. IDPH officials said the person was unvaccinated.
Assistant Director of Recreation, Parks, and Community Health Margaret Lewis said with the winter months ahead, it is key for people to get vaccinated.
"Measles is a virus that spreads easily through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks," Lewis said. "Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. People of any age can get measles, but the disease is most common — and most deadly — in children."
Lewis added, "Much like Covid-19, it can also spread when infected droplets land on a surface, and someone touches it. So good hand hygiene and being up-to-date with the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine are essential to reduce the spread."
Lewis added measles can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (brain swelling).
Most people are vaccinated routinely in childhood and are not at high risk. Of most concern are people who have not been vaccinated. Individuals who think they have been exposed should check with their healthcare provider about protection through prior vaccination or the need for vaccination.
For more information about measles, contact your health care provider or visit the Illinois Department of Public Health webpage on measles or the CDC’s measles site.