City of Chicago continuing to investigate and respond to confirmed measles case at new arrival shelter

March 8, 2024

Shelter residents being assessed, offered vaccination

CDPH Public Information Office:

CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and other city agencies continue to investigate a confirmed case of measles that was identified in a resident at a new arrivals shelter in Pilsen, screening all residents for symptoms and vaccination status. Vaccination teams were on site early Friday at the shelter at 2241 S. Halsted St. to conduct screening and provide vaccination.

“We are marshaling resources from various city agencies and other partners to screen residents at this shelter, getting people vaccinated and providing them with any needed care and guidance, and working to ensure any spread is contained,” said CDPH Commissioner Olusimbo Ige, MD, MPH. "We know this is a challenging situation and want to thank new arrivals for their patience and cooperation. The key to preventing measles is vaccination. If you are not vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine."

The case of measles was identified in a young, non-school age child who has recovered and is no longer infectious. A case investigation is underway to ensure those they may have come in contact with while infectious are informed and vaccinated. No other cases have been identified.

Residents are being asked to remain in place until it can be determined whether they are vaccinated against measles and therefore immune to the infectious disease. Those who have been vaccinated can go about their normal business while those who have not been vaccinated will have to remain indoors to watch for symptoms. The normal quarantine period is 21 days from the last day of exposure. All unvaccinated residents will be screened for symptoms and offered the measles vaccine.

The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) has secured increased meal services for those who will have to stay on site, and CDPH is delivering additional masks and other personal protective equipment for residents and staff.

Most Chicagoans are routinely vaccinated in childhood and therefore not at high risk. Anyone who is not vaccinated against measles should do so. MMR vaccine is available at most doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Illinois children as young as 10 years-old can get vaccinated at pharmacies under Illinois law. CDPH Immunization clinics provide MMR vaccine for no out-of-pocket cost to any child 0–18 years and uninsured adults 19 and older. For more information on measles please visit the CDPH website.

On Thursday, CDPH confirmed another, unrelated case of measles in a Chicago resident, the first case identified in a Chicagoan since 2019. The source of the infection is unknown at this time and the infectious period for the Chicago resident ended on March 6. The individual is recovering well at home.

No link has been identified between this 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.

Illinois had five measles cases in 2023. Those cases were the first in the state since 2019, when the last measles case was identified in Chicago.

While cases of measles are exceedingly rare in Chicago due to high vaccination coverage from childhood, reports of measles cases have been increasing recently internationally and in the United States. The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) is extremely effective at preventing measles and remains by far the best protection against measles for people of all ages. However, measles is highly contagious and can be dangerous to those who are unvaccinated, especially babies and young children.

Measles is a serious respiratory infection that causes a rash and high fever and is capable of leading to pneumonia and other complications. A first dose of MMR is recommended at 12 months of age and a second at 4 to 6 years of age, but it is never too late to get your MMR vaccine if you haven't already. CDPH offers MMR vaccinations at no cost for uninsured adults and children eligible for the Vaccines For Children program at our various health clinics around Chicago. Adults who aren't sure if they're vaccinated against measles should contact their health care provider. For more information about measles and how you can protect yourself, visit the CDC website.