Report: Suburban measles cases similar to Disneyland strain, can't be connected
Most of the suburban people infected with measles earlier this year carried the same strain that was found in the high-profile outbreak that started at Disneyland, but officials weren't able to definitively link the two.
That's according to a two-page memo by Illinois Department of Public Health officials summarizing the measles outbreak in Illinois this year.
"Of the 14 cases that were laboratory-confirmed PCR positive by the Illinois State Public Health Laboratory, 13 were genotyped and found to be measles genotype B3," the memo released to the Daily Herald reads. "This genotype was also identified in a recent multistate outbreak linked to a Disney theme park in California and a large outbreak in the Philippines."
But, spokeswoman Melaney Arnold says, state officials didn't find travelers or patients that provided a link between the local cases and the California ones.
"We could not confirm a connection to Disneyland," she said.
Dr. Rachel Rubin, a senior medical officer at the Cook County Department of Public Health, said the strain of measles found in Disneyland and the suburbs has also been found all around the world. Rubin said the only way to determine exactly where someone was exposed would be through travel history.
"We conducted a very thorough investigation of the patients and their families and found no connection to California and Disneyland," Rubin said.
Officials identified 15 measles cases in the suburbs before the outbreak ended, mostly among infants at a Palatine KinderCare. The memo suggests those people who work with babies, who are too young to be vaccinated, receive immunizations themselves.
Rubin said all of the KinderCare cases involved children who were too young to be vaccinated. She said they were not sure who infected the infants, but that the person who did was not vaccinated or immune from having the measles themselves.
The state has since approved a new law requiring vaccinations for many day care workers.
"Additionally, this outbreak highlights the need for those who have regular contact with vulnerable populations, such as health care workers and staff of child care centers, to be properly vaccinated with documentation readily available to their employers," the memo reads. "Health care and child care facilities are encouraged to maintain vaccination information on their employees."
• Daily Herald staff writer Doug T. Graham contributed to this report.