Authorities warn of potential measles exposures in Old Town, Mount Prospect

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In this handout from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the skin of a patient after three days of measles infection. (CDC via Getty Images)

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Public health officials are warning people who recently dined at an Old Town restaurant and shopped at a northwest suburban grocery store that they may have been exposed to measles after another customer was diagnosed with the highly-contagious virus.

The person recently contracted the virus while traveling to another country with “ongoing measles transmissions,” according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. After the infected person returned to Cook County, they visited a pair of businesses in the area.

Customers who dined at the Panera Bread at 400 W. Division St. between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. July 13 or shopped at the Jewel-Osco at 333 E. Euclid Ave. in Mount Prospect between noon and 4 p.m. July 14 may have been exposed to the virus, officials said.

There is no ongoing risk of transmission at either business, officials said.

Public health officials are working with Panera Bread and Jewel-Osco to contact employees who were working at the businesses during the potential exposure times.

Both companies confirmed that they were cooperating with authorities. A spokeswoman for Panera Bread said no guests or employees reported falling ill after the potential exposure.

The health care facilities where the patient was evaluated are also trying to identify areas of exposure and notify staff, patients and visitors, officials said.

Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, officials said. Measles can also cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.

“It is important for everyone to get vaccinated, if they aren’t already,” said CCDPH Chief Medical Officer Terry Mason, MD. “Getting vaccinated protects you and others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons. Two doses of measles vaccine are nearly 100 percent effective in preventing measles.”

The virus can spread easily through the air when someone coughs or sneezes, officials said. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.

Anyone experiencing measles symptoms after visiting the businesses during those times should call their health care provider before showing up at a medical office or an emergency room so special arrangements can be made for evaluation, officials said.

People experiencing measles symptoms should also call their local public health departments at:

• Chicago Department of Public Health, (312) 746-5380
• Cook County Department of Public Health, (708) 836-8699
• Lake County Department of Public Health, (847) 377-8130