New measles breakout appears

By Peggy Keslin

NIU health officials said a second case of measles broke out on campus as of Nov. 13, but they refused to release the name of the student who contracted the disease.

Tana Knetsch, DeKalb County Health Department spokeswoman, said the case has not been confirmed yet because they still are waiting for the person’s blood test to come in.

She said they are assuming it is measles because the person developed the symptoms and also came in contact with a sibling who had the virus.

The Illinois Department of Public Health requested the University Health Service to inform all students and faculty of the case.

A health center memorandum dated Nov. 17 said the student’s family has refused all medical care and has not been immunized due to religious beliefs.

ealth Center Director Rosemary Lane said she did not believe it was legal to release the name of the student, and she was hesitant to do so without the approval of University Legal Counsel George Schur. Schur’s office said he would be out of town until Thursday.

Charles Brown, a local DeKalb attorney, said the health center probably did not release the name because in cases like this confidentiality must be considered. He said, “There is a question of rights of privacy between the patient and the doctor.”

Local physician Dr. Samual Goldman said, “Medical records can only be released with the patient’s permission, but cases involving infectious diseases must be reported to public health officials.”

Lane said although the name would not be released, students in classes the person attends will be informed and other students should realize they might have come in contact with the measles virus.

She said, “People who become sick between Nov. 20 and the 27 should be aware of the possibility that they may have measles and should take proper medical precautions.”

The incubation period for measles lasts anywhere from seven to 12 days during which time a person is contagious but might not know they are carrying the virus.

“Hard measles (commonly known as 10-day measles) starts with cold symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose and cough,” Lane said.

She said it rapidly becomes more severe with redness of the eyes and a high fever. Usually after three days of cold symptoms, the person will break out in a rash. The rash starts in the neck and upper chest area and then extends to other parts of the body.

Lane said in uncomplicated cases body temperature will return to normal 48 hours after the rash appears and is shortly followed by a complete recovery.

She said complications are rare but might lead to a swelling of the brain, encephalitis or pneumonia.

She said the disease usually is transmitted through coughing, and it is possible to contract the virus just by being in the same room with an infected person.

“The disease must run it’s own course because there is no real effective treatment,” Lane said.

It is important to notify all students of the case because the person could have been in any number of places on campus and might have come in contact with many people, she said.

Goldman said with infectious diseases it is important to notify “anyone who has had close contact with the person, such as family members or dormmates, and only in those instances should the person’s name be released.”

The health center advises that the following people be vaccinated:

.Those who have never had measles.

.Those who are born after 1957.

.Those who were vaccinated against measles before 1969.

.Those who were vaccinated younger than 15 months of age.

The vaccine is available free at the health center.