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Chicago's top doctor says there was no measles outbreak inside police station

Chicago's top doctor says there was no measles outbreak inside police station
Chicago's top doctor says there was no measles outbreak inside police station 02:20

CHICAGO (CBS) – Days after CBS 2 cameras spotted a notice outside the 25th Chicago Police District station about an apparent measles outbreak inside the station, we learned there was a possible outbreak at the facility where migrants are staying, but it wasn't of measles.

CBS 2's Tara Molina learned what was really going on.

The city's top doctor said there was not one measles case at the station, but there were some possible chickenpox cases, although even that isn't confirmed yet.

The sign that started the inquiry was posted on the door of the 25th District police station where migrants are staying. It read "This facility has been contaminated by a Measles outbreak. By entering, you are agreeing to accept this risk."

CBS 2 came across the sign over the weekend and has been pressing the city for answers ever since.

For instance, why was such a sign the extent of the notice of an outbreak of a contagious disease on city property? It turns out, there was no outbreak.

In fact, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said there was not one confirmed case of measles at the station.

"There is not a rise in measles cases in Chicago," Arwady said. "In fact, there has not been a single measles case diagnosed in Chicago recently."

Arwady explained there were migrants staying at the facility who showed signs of a rash and were immediately taken for medical treatment, but they did not have measles and nothing was spread to others. She added all migrants are screened before coming into Chicago and less than 1% have had any kind of health concern.

CBS 2 was told the building has resumed normal operations and there is no measles concern there or elsewhere.

So who posted the sign?

Officials at the Chicago Department of Public Health said it wasn't them. CBS 2 also asked interim Chicago Police Supt. Fred Waller on Monday.

"We are looking into that and also CDPH is also looking into it to see if it was verified," Waller said. "Does anyone have measles? So far, we have not seen that, but they're still looking into it and we are looking into who might've put that sign up."

No measles cases at Chicago police station, CDPH director says 02:40

It remained unclear on Tuesday afternoon how the sign got there.

Chicago police are directing all requests for information to the health department. No one has taken responsibility for posting the sign.

A spokesperson from Mayor Brandon Johnson's office said, "while precautions were taken this morning out of an abundance of caution, at this time measles is very unlikely."

The spokesperson added that because of high vaccination rates, diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, polio and varicella (chicken pox) are rare in the U.S. 

"While this is a challenging situation, we do not consider this a public health crisis, and reports that migrants may be the source of disease spread in Chicago are inaccurate and can fuel xenophobia," the spokesperson said. "The City is continuing to monitor the situation with our partners and providing appropriate guidance and services as needed."

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