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Measles cases in Chicago, 2 suburban counties have State of Illinois taking action

Suburban Chicago counties point finger to city after measles cases are confirmed
Suburban Chicago counties point finger to city after measles cases are confirmed 02:54

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Measles cases have now been confirmed in two different suburban Chicago counties – and both are tied to the Chicago city outbreak.

The Pilsen migrant shelter at 2248 S. Halsted St. is the origin point for the majority of the measles cases in Chicago, and now health officials say the cases confirmed in Lake and Will counties are both connected to this outbreak.

A total of 26 confirmed measles cases have been confirmed in the city of Chicago so far – with four this week. The City of Chicago on Monday said everyone who received a measles vaccine at the Pilsen migrant shelter should receive a second dose 28 days after their first shot.

Meanwhile, the new suburban cases – which stem from the Chicago outbreak – have been detected in Will County and Lake County.

The Lake County Health Department warned that people who were at Consume Restaurant in Lake Zurich between March 13 and March 19 may have been exposed. Also, people at the Advocate Condell Medical Center emergency room in Libertyville on March 20 and March 21 may have been exposed. 

"Working through and identifying the specific locations in which people were when they were in a place where they could transmit" is what investigators are doing, said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra.

Vohra said contact tracing and tracking are a huge priority.

"The state department is doing everything it can - working so closely with those public health heroes on the local level, and doing everything we can to make sure this measles outbreak is contained," he said.

Spokespeople for both the Lake and Will County health departments said they are working closely with the state's health department. Dr. Vohra said those efforts won't stop any time soon.

But declining measles vaccination rates are a problem – as CBS 2 reported before the first measles case in Chicago since 2019 was confirmed. Some measles vaccination rates are as low as 12% for some pre-kindergarten students in Chicago public schools.

"If someone were to have active measles and be in a room, and then left, and you were to go in that room an hour later - if you were susceptible to measles, you would have a 98% chance of catching measles," said pediatrician Dr. Gary Reschak of Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital.

Because measles is so contagious, Dr. Reschak said parents should be paying close attention to the continued spread.

"I'm personally worried we might be heading into a world where measles will once again become endemic in the United States," said Dr. Reschak. "and it's really something we all need to work together and make sure everyone is getting vaccinated, follow the public health recommendations, and try to limit this."

The City of Chicago has provided a "Get the Facts" web page for measles. The State of Illinois, and Lake and Will counties, have also put out information.

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