QCA Health Officials Monitoring Vaccine-Preventable Diseases - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

QCA Health Officials Monitoring Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Posted: Updated: May 06, 2014 11:28 PM

An outbreak of mumps has parents across the Midwest concerned. There's been a spike in cases in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio for an illness that children are normally vaccinated against.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says there have already been 82 cases of mumps in the state as of the end of April. That's compared to 26 cases in all of last year, including one in Rock Island County.

So far, no cases of mumps have been reported in Rock Island County this year, and the same goes for all of the other counties in the QCA we checked in with.

But local health department officials say vaccine-preventable diseases are showing up across our area.

In Rock Island County, for example, there's been a spike in Hepatitis B. From December 2013 through March 2014, there have been 23 cases reported. In all of last year, there were just 3.

Hepatitis B is also showing up in Henry County, Illinois, as is vaccine-preventable chicken pox, which has mostly been in children who have had their first vaccine against that but not the booster.

Knox County public health officials say chicken pox is popping up there, too, with most cases in children too young to get the second shot.

Des Moines County public health officials say chicken pox is non-reportable, so they don't know if it's showing up in there now, but, they say they know they don't have cases of the other big vaccine preventable diseases like measles, mumps, or pertussis - that's whooping cough.

Clinton County is in the same boat and says most families have been happy to come into compliance with the new Iowa rule that went into effect at the start of this school year requiring all students entering 7th grade have a Tdap vaccine, which guards against pertussis.

That said, Scott County health officials say they're still seeing the occasional case of whooping cough.

And, two cases of measles have shown up in McDonough county this year. One was in a child too young to get the long-required MMR vaccine, and the the other in an adult who had been vaccinated but was in close proximity to the child.

Even so, McDonough County health officials, like many others we talked to, say they've seen a number of people opting not to get vaccines - part of a trend nationwide.

Health officials across the country say a recent backlash against vaccines from celebrities and on the internet could be behind the rise in cases of vaccine-preventable diseases like mumps.

"What we try to do at the health department is send out information that is current, consistent and clear in hopes that we can dispel some of those myths," said Evanston Health Department Director Evonda Thomas-Smith.

Families in both Iowa and Illinois can choose not to get their children vaccinated because of religious or medical exemptions.

But, health officials across our area say immunization rates are consistently high here.

Experts believe the recent mumps outbreak has likely been caused by a traveler from overseas, and officials say it's not going to end any time soon.

As the Illinois Health Department continues to deal with the recent spike in mumps cases, the state has issued new requirements for school entrance vaccinations.

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