CHICAGO, IL – The measles bug continues its march across the nation, making a stop in Illinois. Health officials confirm at least ten cases, including nine at a suburban Chicago day care: two adults and seven infants.
This outbreak is underscoring the importance of vaccinating children, especially those who may come in contact with infants, whether in the Land of Lincoln, or in the Lone Star State.
“If you have a kid, and it’s an infant, and they haven’t had all of their shots yet, they will catch whatever the next child has, because their immune systems are very low,” said Mildred Cunningham, a Houston day care owner.
Health officials in DuPage Count, Illinois say infected people visited three businesses. One person was working at a massage spa when she started showing signs.
Health officials have confirmed more than 120 cases of measles in 17 states and the District of Columbia, with at least 100 cases in California.
What is the economic cost to all of this?
Some estimates put the cost, just to public health institutions, at around $5.3 million for the 2011 outbreak that affected 107 people in 16 outbreaks.
And, an outbreak in San Diego in 2008 that exposed 48 unvaccinated children cost the families about $775 per child.
None of those numbers include lost wages to workers, and lost production to businesses, which could run into the tens of millions of dollars.
Compare that to the cost of one shot, which is less than $2, or to the cost of a life if, or when, someone dies because someone else didn’t get vaccinated.