Nearly 32,000 Illinois school children unvaccinated for measles
In the 2013-14 school year, 98.3 percent of school-aged children were immunized for measles, leaving about 31,774 statewide who have been granted an exemption from getting the vaccine or aren't in compliance.
The numbers come from a yearly report from the Illinois State Board of Education that keeps track of how many school-aged children are immunized and how many get exemptions from the required immunizations.
The count doesn't include infants like the five in Palatine reported to be infected with measles who were too young to be vaccinated. But the report offers a window into compliance statewide. About 14,040 children last school year didn't have the measles vaccine and didn't qualify for an exemption, according to the report.
A little more than half of one percent, about 13,527 children, had an exemption last school year on religious grounds, the report says.
"The religious objection may be personal and need not be directed by the tenets of an established religious organization," a state rule says. It also says "general philosophical or moral reluctance" doesn't count under the law.
About two tenths of one percent of children, or 4,207, have an exemption for medical reasons. Getting one requires a statement from a doctor. Even though parents who don't vaccinate their children have risen in profile in recent years, state data shows total compliance with all state immunization laws has risen more than a percentage point over the past five school years from 96.3 percent in the 2009-2010 school year to 97.6 percent last year.
Measles: What you should know• One of the first published accounts of the measles comes from a 9th-century Persian doctor. In 1912, it became a nationally notifiable disease in the United States, requiring health care providers and laboratories to report all diagnosed cases. In the first decade of reporting, an average of 6,000 measles-related deaths were reported annually.
• In 1963, biomedical scientist John Enders and colleagues created the first measles vaccine. Five years later, an improved vaccine was created and remains in use today.
• Early symptoms include fever, red and sore eyes, runny nose and a cough. A characteristic rash appears three to five days later on the face and hairline, then spreads to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.
• Measles can be a serious in all age groups, but children younger than 5 and adults older than 20 are more likely to suffer from measles complications.
• Severe complications can include pneumonia and encephalitis. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. Measles may cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.
• Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000 but since has made a comeback. There were 37 reported cases in 2004 and 644 in 2014.
• The Centers for Disease Control recommends all children get two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, according to the CDC.
• The most common adverse events following the MMR vaccine are pain where the vaccine is given, fever, a mild rash, and swollen glands in the cheeks or neck. Vaccine safety experts, including at CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree MMR vaccine is not responsible for increases in the number of children with autism.
• If a person experiences measles symptoms, he or she should contact a health care provider and county health department. Do not go to the doctor's office or an emergency room, as they could infect others there.
Source: Centers for Disease Control; Cook County Department of Public Health