A relative of a graduating student from the Northern Illinois University (NIU) was diagnosed with measles. The same person, who attended the graduation ceremony at the Convocation Center on May 14, may have exposed several people to the virus.

The relative also stayed at the Holmes Student Center hotel from May 13 to 15 and attended a welcome reception for the College of Business on May 14 at the NIU Barsema Hall atrium.

The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed it as northern Illinois's first measles case. Director Nirav Shah said the infected person was visiting from outside of the United States. His tests for measles came out positive. Shah added, however, that the person has recovered well and is "no longer infectious."

Measles is a highly communicable disease. Virus from an infected individual can infect other people through sneezes and coughs. Direct contact with throat and nose secretions can also pass on the virus from one person to another.

Common symptoms of measles include rashes on the face or neck which then spread to the rest of the body. The rashes are often accompanied by cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes and a high fever.

The fever often starts on the 10th day after exposure to virus. For some people, it can start anywhere between seven and 18 days post-exposure.

The rashes manifest about 14 days post-exposure. Normally, infected babies and adults are often sicker than children and teens who catch the same virus.

Due to its highly contagious nature, people infected with measles are advised to stay home once symptoms start to appear. Measles treatments often include taking medications for headache and fever, drinking a lot of water and resting for long periods of time.

Protection comes in the form of measles vaccine. The first shot of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is given to children between their 12th and 15th month. The second dose of the MMR vaccine is normally administered before children enter school in their 4th or 6th year.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 10 confirmed cases of measles across four states between Jan. 2 and April 29 this year. These states include California, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia. The recently confirmed case in Illinois is not yet included in this list.

The United States experienced the most number of confirmed measles cases in 2014 with 667 cases spanning 27 states. Most of the people who catch measles are unvaccinated.

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