Measles cases on the rise in Illinois, across the country

Cook County doctors are urging parents to vaccinate their children against the measles after 7 cases are reported in Illinois.

Pediatricians from Advocate Children's Hospital and Northshore University Healthsystem say they are sending out hundreds of letters to unvaccinated patients.

"Patients don't just get a rash and a fever, you can get encephalitis and patients can die from this disease, " said Dr. Michael Caplan with NorthShore University HealthSystem.

Right now doctors say 80% of the nearly 500 measles cases nationwide are in children.

"A person can cough in the Dairy Queen, and that virus might be alive for a couple, few hours, and somebody could still contract the disease that walks in to get their ice cream later," said Dr. Caplan when describing about how contagious the virus can be.

Illinois law requires children to be vaccinated, but does allow exceptions for medical or religious reasons. According to information collected by the State Board of Education, five Chicago-area schools have the greatest number of students in the state who have not received at least one of the required vaccines.

*Zion-Benton Township High School 607 (non-compliant students)

*Curie Metropolitan High School 311 

*Lincoln Park High School 403

*Lane Technical High School 665

*Amundsen High school 305

More than 49-thousand Illinois school children are not in compliance with immunization requirements, according to the State Board of Education.

To see how many students at your child’s school are compliant with health requirements, CLICK HERE