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Chicago reports second measles case in 24 hours

2 new cases of measles in Chicago in less than 24 hours
2 new cases of measles in Chicago in less than 24 hours 02:08

CHICAGO (CBS)--  A second case of measles was reported in Chicago early Friday morning. 

The second case, this one involving a child, was reported at a migrant shelter for new arrivals in Pilsen. The Chicago Department of Public Health is investigating who may have been exposed while the child was infectious.

According to CDPH, the young child has recovered and is no longer contagious. According to Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), there are 1,876 people, including 95 toddlers between the ages of 1 and 2, at the shelter. 

Chicago Public Schools said that the child was not school-age. However, CPS provided school principals a list of students from the shelter and those students will not be allowed to participate in school on Friday. CPS emphasized that no students have tested positive for measles. 

Measles is a highly contagious, serious airborne disease that can lead to severe complications or death.

Health officials are working to determine whether everyone at the shelter, 2241 S. Halsted St., has been vaccinated against measles. Those who are vaccinated can leave the shelter. 

Anyone who isn't vaccinated has to stay inside, and will be screened for symptoms and offered the vaccine.  

This is the same shelter where a 5-year-old migrant died of sepsis after dealing with multiple infections. 

Second case of measles confirmed in Chicago in less than 24 hours 02:06

First measles case reported in Chicago in five years 

The first case was reported Thursday; Chicago last reported measles five years ago.   

The Chicago Department of Public Health has identified two locations and times of possible exposure for the first case. 

If on Feb. 27, you were at:

  • Swedish Hospital, Galter Medical Pavilion at 5140 N. California Ave. in Lincoln Square between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.
  • CTA bus No. 92 (Foster) between 9:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., you may have been exposed

Anyone at those locations that day should call CDPH at 312-743-7216 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to be advised of the next steps based on their documented immunity to measles and level of exposure.

Symptoms of measles

 After being exposed, symptoms could take from seven to 21 days to show up.

The most common symptoms include rash, high fever (104 degrees), cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a rash can break out three to five days after symptoms begin. The rash appears in small, red, raised bumps. The rash typically starts on the face and neck and then spreads down the body. 

According to the CDC, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth between two and three days after symptoms begin. 

According to Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, measles is more contagious than COVID and flu.

According to the World Health Organization, complications can include blindness, encephalitis (an infection causing brain swelling and potentially brain damage), severe diarrhea, dehydration, ear infections, and severe breathing problems, including pneumonia.

Anyone who develops symptoms of measles should contact a healthcare provider by phone or email before going to a medical office or emergency department. Special arrangements can be made for evaluation while also protecting others from exposure.

Measles vaccinations in Chicago

The disease was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000, but it has returned – as vaccination rates have fallen below the 95% needed to achieve herd immunity.

In Cook County, outside of Chicago, four cases of measles were detected last year, the first since 2019. Health officials have said it was a concerning trend because more schools are falling below that herd immunity threshold.

A CBS 2 analysis of state immunization data from the 2022-2023 school year shows 882 schools statewide reported vaccination rates lower than the federal recommendation of 95 percent.

"The vaccine is safe and extremely effective. If your children fell behind on vaccinations during the pandemic, it is not too late to catch up," Dr. Wallice told CBS 2. 

CPDH Immunization clinics provide MMR for no out-of-pocket cost to any child between zero and 18 years old and uninsured adults. Most insurance companies must cover all vaccines at no cost to patients. 

Doctors recommend that most children receive their first MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine at 12 to 15 months. The second dose is to be given around 4 to 6 years old. According to state law, Illinois children as young as 10 can also get vaccinated at pharmacies. 

"The key to preventing measles is vaccination. If you are not vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine," said CDPH Commissioner Olusimbo Ige.

Cases of measles have been on the rise globally, with more than 306,000 cases reported last year. CBS 2 is told the rise in cases should also send a message in particular for families with children.

"It is something that if you are not vaccinated - or if you have a child that may have been delayed during vaccines during the pandemic - this is a good time to reach out to your pediatrician to make sure that your kids are up to date with their vaccines," said Dr. Bessey Gevarghese of Lurie Children's Hospital.. "The decisions you make are affecting the larger population."

A CBS 2 analysis of state immunization data showed that during the 2022-2023 school year, 882 schools statewide reported measles vaccination rates below the federal recommendation, set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of 95% to achieve herd immunity.

A total of 288 of those schools are within Chicago Public Schools system. Some schools have a measles vaccination rate as low as 12% with some pre-K students.

"Obviously, the lower the protection, the more the vulnerability," Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, chief operating officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health, "which means, not only do you have more students that are more vulnerable - but it means that should a student get measles, that can basically run through that community very quickly."

Official statement from the State of Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued the following statement with regard to the measles cases:

"In response to a confirmed case of measles in a young child at a new arrivals shelter in the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois has convened a working group of State agency leaders to support the City in ongoing efforts to assess conditions at the shelter and vaccinate and test residents.

"At the direction of Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and other departments are collaborating to mobilize resources needed to support Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the City of Chicago.

"The State is already assisting by sending a medical team staffer to the shelter to assist with the assessment, providing testing resources, and providing supplies of the highly effective measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine.  According to the CDC, one dose of MMR vaccine is 93% effective against measles and two doses are 97% effective, if exposed.

"Most residents of Chicago and Illinois were vaccinated routinely in childhood and therefore not at high risk. Of most concern are people who have not been vaccinated. MMR vaccine is available at most medical provider's offices and pharmacies. Illinois children as young as 7 years old can get the MMR shot at pharmacies under Illinois law."

City, Cook County, and state officials declined interview requests Friday.

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