CHICAGO (AP) — A national day care provider says that as of next week it will require measles vaccinations for all staff members who work with children less than 15 months old, after health officials in Illinois announced measles diagnoses in five infants who attended a suburban Chicago center.
KinderCare Learning Centers, which has 1,500 locations nationwide, noted the requirement in a letter to parents posted on its website and dated Thursday, the same day the Illinois cases were announced. The cases come amid growing concern about unvaccinated children after an outbreak connected to Disneyland sickened dozens of people.
Children under age 1 generally are considered too young for vaccinations, leaving them vulnerable to contracting the disease from another unvaccinated and infected person.
KinderCare's letter also says the operator is collecting vaccination records for all staff members, and limiting access to infant rooms to either adults dropping off or picking up an infant, or immunized staff.
The daycare provider's parent company, Knowledge Universe, said policy change also would apply to an additional 100 locations for its other brand, Children's Creative Learning Center, or CCLC.
The company said it previously followed local health guidelines and did not require all staff to have vaccinations. In Illinois, there are no state vaccination requirements for day care staff.
Illinois health officials meanwhile cautioned that more local cases are likely because measles is highly contagious and that 10 other children, including some too young for vaccinations, could have been exposed at the KinderCare center in Palatine, about 30 miles northwest of Chicago.
Lab results have confirmed two of the Illinois infant cases. Doctors have diagnosed the other three based on symptoms and are awaiting laboratory confirmation.
Palatine also is connected to an earlier Illinois case in which authorities say someone with the disease visited a Palatine supermarket and health clinic in mid-January. But so far, there is no known link to the day care infections.