Public takes advantage of free measles vaccination
The Cook County Department of Public Health Friday held the first of two free measles vaccination clinics at a Palatine church in an effort to stop the recent outbreak of the disease at 15 confirmed cases.
"Our concern is we continue to see the transmission of measles in this area of Cook County," said Sean McDermott, director of policy development and communications for the department.
The 15th case of measles in the county was confirmed just last week. But because of the 21-day incubation period for the disease, the department will wait at least that long after the last confirmed case before declaring the transmission over, McDermott said.
Thirteen of the 15 cases in Cook County have been linked with the KinderCare Learning Center at 929 E. Palatine Road, while a 14th was linked to a Palatine business and health care clinic.
Earlier this week, the department named three Palatine locations the most recent measles patient had visited before being diagnosed: LaRosita Laundromat at 1212 E. Dundee Road on Feb. 16; and The Vista Health Center and Northwest Community Resource Center, both at 1585 N. Rand Road, on Feb. 19.
Friday's vaccination clinic ran from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at All Saints Lutheran Church, 630 S. Quentin Road in Palatine.
Though approximately 20 people came to the clinic Friday, only 11 actually received the vaccinations. Because the rest were born in the U.S. before 1957, it was determined that they would have already been vaccinated, McDermott said.
Though there's no danger of receiving the vaccination again for those unsure of their status, a personal physician can determine one's immunity with a simple blood test, McDermott said.
A second free session of the clinic will be held at the same location from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10.
In addition to notifying the media, the health department reached out to the community with information about the clinics through the use of fliers -- particularly around the areas where the prior possibilities of transmission occurred, McDermott said.
The recent outbreak demonstrated a need for further education in the county, as well as an opportunity to provide the vaccinations for free, he added.
"There's been a great deal of misinformation in the public domain for some time," McDermott said, referring to the disproven theory that vaccinations could cause autism.
While the recent measles outbreak seems to have stayed relatively contained, with all patients receiving treatment in a timely manner, the dangers of the once uncontrolled disease are difficult to overstate, McDermott said.
"Measles can cause severe neurological problems and in some cases, death," he said.
Permanent deafness is among the neurological problems that can result from measles, he added.