Department of Public Health Identifies Possible Measles Exposures in Chicago

May 18, 2019

Residents are encouraged to check vaccine records to make sure they are protected

Elena Ivanova

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on May 17 identified an individual with a confirmed measles infection in Chicago. CDPH is working closely with the highest-risk locations to contact exposed individuals. In addition, exposures may have occurred on May 16 on public transportation from O’Hare International Airport to University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) campus, and the Chicago Loop, in Millennium Park and in retail establishments on State Street between Monroe and Randolph Streets and on South Canal Street. On the morning of May 17, exposures may have occurred at UIC Student Center East.

Individuals who think they may have been exposed should check their immunization records or contact their healthcare providers to determine if they need to be immunized. Healthcare providers who have questions about exposures and vaccine recommendations should call 311 and ask for the communicable disease physician on call.

“Measles is a serious yet preventable disease through a safe, effective and universally available vaccine” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “Chicagoans should make sure their children and family members are up to date on vaccines now. Vaccination is the best way to protect against measles.”

The City of Chicago has one of the highest measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination rates in the nation. Most individuals in Chicago are protected from measles because they were vaccinated as children. Ninety-four percent of children between 19 months and three years have received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine and are also protected from measles.

Due to ongoing measles outbreaks in the United States and the high volume of international travelers, the risk of measles transmission in Chicago and throughout the country remains high. Of most concern are people who have not been vaccinated, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals. 

People born before 1957 are protected against measles. Most adults require one dose of measles vaccine, including those who received a measles vaccine between 1957 and 1989.         

Chicago residents need to make sure that they and their f­­amilies are protected against measles. The following individuals should receive vaccine if travelling internationally or to sites of active outbreaks:

  • Infants six months through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine.
  • Children 12 months of age and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
  • Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
  • Adults with documentation of one dose of MMR vaccine should get a second dose.

Measles starts with a fever that can get very high. Some of the other symptoms that may occur are cough, runny nose, red eyes, diarrhea and a rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spread to the rest of the body.

For more information about measles, contact your health care provider or visit