Measles Vaccine For KinderCare Employees: Illinois Outbreak Exposes Fundamental Flaw In Vaccine System

A measles outbreak at a Palatine, Illinois, KinderCare affected five babies, all of whom were under one-year-old, as reported Monday by Inquisitr. On Friday, ABC reported that the national KinderCare chain announced that all employees who work in the chain's infant rooms nationwide must ensure they are vaccinated against measles by Monday, February 9.

Requiring employees to get vaccinated will prevent the workers from getting the disease, but doing so cannot not stop anyone already infected from showing symptoms or passing it to other adults and children who aren't vaccinated.

Unsure whether these cases are linked to last week's reported case in Illinois, or the measles outbreak at Disneyland in California, public health officials know one thing for sure. In the next two weeks, doctors will likely diagnose more measles cases, and some of those cases will probably be connected in some way to the Illinois KinderCare outbreak, the Chicago Tribune reports.

This news brings to light a fundamental, and possibly fatal, flaw in the vaccination system. Babies cannot receive the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination that would stave off the highly contagious disease until they are at least one-year-old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The same is true of other vaccines as well. Included are those for varicella (chicken pox), Hepatitis A, HPV 2 (girls) and HPV4 (boys), and meningitis.

Vaccination Schedule - Prevent Disease Outbreaks

This means that in addition to people not getting the vaccine for the most common reasons – religion, allergies to vaccination ingredients, and fear of adverse reactions – the entire population of children under the age of one is unprotected from, and highly susceptible to, all of these diseases.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the most recent data shows that 3,932,181 babies are born each year, and all are unprotected.

The transmission period is another problem with the measles outbreak, and makes it likely that others will get infected in Illinois and elsewhere. A person infected with measles might not know he or she were sick because, according to the CDC, there is a day or two in between symptoms appearing and the infectious stage.

The CDC measles literature explains the time table for symptoms.

"Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears."
Early symptoms appear in most measles cases, which include high fever, coughing, and runny nose, all of which mimic the flu. The rash starts about three-to-five days later. Unless a person with these symptoms knows he or she has been exposed to the measles, that person is likely to take an over-the-counter medicine to treat the symptoms, as they would for any flu or cold virus, and still go to work or school, according to Best Health.

This could spell disaster to babies everywhere, most of whom are not protected against the disease. The CDC reports that measles is especially dangerous for babies. Measles in a baby can cause lifelong brain damage, deafness, pneumonia, and it can even kill.

The measles vaccine did such a good job at stopping the disease from spreading that the CDC declared measles "eliminated" in the United States in 2000. This is why the CDC still stresses every child be vaccinated on schedule, noting that the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

[Photo via PHIL/CDC; Vaccination Schedule via CDC]