CHAMPAIGN — Three or four people are being tested for measles after an unidentified person was diagnosed with the highly contagious disease last week, according to the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.
The people have symptoms, or were unvaccinated and possibly exposed to the initial patient, said Julie Pryde, the health district's administrator.
"Hopefully, by tomorrow we should know" if they tested positive, Pryde said Monday.
The initial patient appears to have been a University of Illinois student or had some connection to the university, having spent time in the last couple weeks at various buildings on campus, and at the Texas Roadhouse in west Champaign.
The UI sent a mass email about the local measles case, saying the McKinley Health Center is working with the health district to identify at-risk individuals.
"We're following up with all the contacts who have been exposed, and if the person was exposed to measles and hasn't been vaccinated or had the disease, then they'll have to be excluded from school or work, or they'll be quarantined until the end of the incubation period," Pryde said.
If anyone new tests positive for the disease, the health district will have to look at everywhere that person has been to see who else may have been exposed.
"Measles is one of the most time-consuming and expensive (diseases) to take care of," Pryde said. "Basically, every place that the person had been has to send us a list of their employees and check to see if they're vaccinated or had the disease in the past."
Measles is an airborne disease that can lead to rashes, high fevers and other complications.
Most people are vaccinated for it after they turn 1 year old, and then again before they enter kindergarten, Pryde said.
If they do that, the measles vaccine is 97 percent effective, Pryde said.
Champaign County has a high vaccination rate, she said.
"That helps keep it down, so we don't have to have an outbreak," Pryde said.
While there are some so-called "anti-vaxxers" in town, she said they are mostly isolated and not part of a specific community, as was the case in a 2017 outbreak among the Somali community in Minnesota.
"One thing that probably helped was the mumps outbreak," Pryde said.
In 2015-16, more than 300 people in Champaign County were sickened with mumps, prompting a mass vaccination outreach by local public health officials.
Students born after 1956 were encouraged to receive an extra dose of the combined MMR vaccine, which protects against mumps, measles and rubella.