Officials warn of possible measles exposure in Geneva, St. Charles

GENEVA, Ill. (WLS) -- The ninth case of measles in Illinois this year has been identified in the western suburbs of Chicago.

The Kane County Health Department said a woman contracted measles while in the United States, and went to five very public places last week.

"Measles is a serious disease," said Kane County Director of Disease Prevention Uche Onwuta.

Kane County Health Department is contacting 200 people who may have been exposed to measles over the course of three days. They say a woman infected with the virus traveled to five different places within just a few miles of each other.

Between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. on Monday, May 20, she visited the At Home store and Best Buy in Geneva. Then around 6 p.m., the Colonial Cafe in St. Charles. An hour later, she went to a Meijer store just up the road.

On Wednesday morning, May 22, she visited a Northwestern Urgent Care in St. Charles and again in the afternoon two days later, on Friday, May 24.

So far, Kane County Health Department has not seen any symptoms in the people they are monitoring. But this new case is a symptom of a larger outbreak problem nationwide.

According to the Mayo Clinic, measles is supposed to be very rare, with fewer than 1,000 cases per year. But almost halfway through 2019, the Centers for Disease Control have already counted 971 confirmed cases of the virus - the highest since the early 1990s.

"If we can get as many people vaccinated as possible, I think we can stem the spread of measles," Onwuta said.

Terry Caltagirone lives in Kane County and just learned of the new measles case in her community. She did not mince words.

"I had measles. It wasn't fun. There were vaccinations for my children who are 45 and 40. I vaccinated them, and guess what? They didn't get the measles," she said.

If think you've been exposed, the Kane County Health Department said not to go straight to the emergency room. Call ahead to your doctor instead.

"Because we don't want those in the facility to get exposed. It's much better to call ahead," Onwuta said.

The Kane County Health Department says they will be checking in daily for 21 days after the exposure with those who may have been at risk. A full list of times and locations where measles exposures may have occurred is posted here.
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