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Child in Will County who tested positive for measles linked to Chicago migrant center

A child testing positive for measles in Will County has been linked to migrant outbreak of the disease in Chicago but no details on who they are, where they live or how they contracted the disease have been released by the Will County Health Department.

“Due to privacy concerns, the only information we can release at this time is that the case is an unvaccinated child linked to the Chicago outbreak,” department spokesman Kevin Juday said in a statement Monday.

“We are unable to disclose any further details at this time. This is an ongoing investigation. If our department becomes aware of any potential public exposure locations, we will publicize that information immediately.”

Anyone who has been exposed to measles and hasn’t been vaccinated or doesn’t have immunity to the disease will be placed in quarantine for 21 days, a health department news release said.

Will County health officials have been in contact with the Illinois Department of Public Health about the case. What investigators have determined so far is the case is “related to the ongoing situation in the city of Chicago,” the release said.

As of this past weekend, there were 17 confirmed measles cases — 11 involving children under the age of 5 — most of which are concentrated in Chicago’s largest city-run migrant shelter located on the Lower West Side.

Health officials also confirmed Saturday there was a confirmed measles case in Lake County.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection that causes a rash and high fever and can result in serious illness, especially in young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, Will County Health Department officials said. It can be spread to others even before the person who has contracted it feels sick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine out of 10 people who are unvaccinated or have never had measles and are exposed to the virus will get sick, the county release said.

Symptoms generally appear 10 to 14 days after exposure and can include high fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, red or watery eyes, and tiny white spots that appear inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek, the release said. A rash of small red spots generally begins three to five days after other signs of the illness begin.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others against measles,” Muneeza Azher, Will County’s communicable disease program manager, said in the release. “If you are not vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine. If you are unsure whether you’ve been vaccinated, ask your health care provider to find out if you need a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.”

In addition to most doctor’s offices and pharmacies, the MMR vaccine is also available at the Will County Health Department’s Immunization Clinic. Appointments at offices in Joliet, Bolingbrook and Monee can be made by calling 815-740-8143.