Health department confirms measles case in McDonough County

A West Central Illinois health organization says it's confirmed a case of measles. The McDonough County Health Department received the report that a young child was contagious from Feb. 14 to Feb. 23.

The health department is continuing to investigate this recent case.

Wednesday the McDonough Health Department issued a press release asking that anyone who was in the McDonough District Hospital emergency room and waiting area on February 16 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. or Guadalajaraâ??s Mexican Restaurant on February 18 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. contact the health department as soon as possible at 309-837-9951. The McDonough County Health Department is open Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. If you have already been contacted by the health department or McDonough District Hospital, you may disregard their request.

Recent numbers show a nationwide resurgence of the virus.

"In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control actually declared measles to be eliminated in the United States ... the last couple years the average was about 60 cases per year, and then last year there were 189 cases in the United States," Lynnette Cale, administrator with the McDonough County Health Department said.

Cale said the affected child had recently traveled overseas, which is a common factor among many cases of measles. The Department does not yet know whether or not the child was up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Children are at the highest risk for contracting the virus, especially those who have not received the proper vaccinations. According to Cale, children typically receive their first measles vaccine around the age of 12 to 15 months. A second vaccine is usually administered around a child's 2nd or 3rd birthday, or at a later date before the age of 5.

The virus is so uncommon that Cale was unsure when the Department had last seen a case of measles.

Measles is a viral illness characterized by fever, malaise, cough, runny nose and pink eye, follow by a full-body rash. The rash usually appears 14 days after exposure and spreads from head to toe.

Measles is considered a mild or moderately severe illness. It can result in ear infections, pneumonia or death.

The disease is spread by breathing, coughing or sneezing.

Health officials in McDonough County stressed that vaccination can prevent measles or the spread of the disease.