Second case of measles confirmed at Chicago migrant shelter

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A second confirmed case of measles has been reported inside a Chicago migrant shelter, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced on Sunday.

These two reports are now the city’s first cases in five years, according to the CDPH.

The city reported an additional, unrelated measles case in Chicago on Thursday, as an increased number of measles cases have occurred around the country and the world in recent months.

The two cases of measles were identified in new young migrant child arrivals. 

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Migrants on the floor and on cots at a makeshift shelter at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport

Recently arrived migrants sit on cots and the floor of a makeshift shelter operated by the city at O’Hare International Airport on Aug. 31, 2023. ( Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The health department reported that the first case has recovered and is no longer infectious, while the second is hospitalized in good condition. 

“The majority of Chicagoans are vaccinated against measles and therefore are not at high risk, but we are strongly urging those who aren’t vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, new arrivals and all Chicagoans. It is by far the best protection against measles, which for the first time in years is in our city,” said CDPH Commissioner Olusimbo ‘Simbo’ Ige, MD. 

City officials stated that residents of the Pilsen shelter who are vaccinated can enter and exit the facility at their own discretion. However, the unvaccinated and those who were just vaccinated in the last few days are being asked to quarantine for three weeks and watch for symptoms.

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“Because of how contagious measles is, I anticipate seeing more cases. Should you be exposed to someone who has measles, if you are not vaccinated you need to immediately quarantine and call a health provider. If you are not sure of your vaccination status, stay home and call your health provider as soon as possible,” Dr. Ige said.

The CDPH is urging all new arrivals and Chicago residents to be vaccinated against measles to protect themselves and the community.

“We have advised all unvaccinated and newly vaccinated residents of the quarantine period but some of those residents have left the shelter, and I want to acknowledge that,” Dr. Ige said. “That is why we so strongly advise the unvaccinated to get the vaccine and to immediately quarantine if you have had contact with anyone with measles.”

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A migrant family in Chicago arriving on a bus from Texas

A migrant family in Chicago arriving on a bus from Texas (Fox News)

The health department added that no link has been identified between this recent case and a measles case in an Indiana resident who had visited Chicago last month. That case did not result in any secondary measles cases in Chicago residents, according to officials. 

The symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, according to the CDPH. After exposure, the symptoms can take seven to 21 days to appear.

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The city of Chicago has taken in more than 36,000 migrants since they began arriving in 2022, according to the city’s new arrivals situational dashboard.