Chicago Department of Public Health Weekly Media Brief, 3/29/2024

March 29, 2024

CDPH Public Information Office:

Measles Update

More than 5,000 new arrivals have received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine since the first case was identified in Chicago, as the Chicago Department of Public Health and it's community and healthcare partners continue to work to contain spread of the highly infectious virus. CDPH and our public partners have been able to quickly respond to measles reports to facilitate appropriate testing, identify measles cases early and ensure they are connected to care and isolating from others while infectious, and vaccinating those who are eligible and not yet up to date with the MMR vaccine.

“These are the core pillars of the public health response that are preventing many more cases of measles that would have occurred without these measures. But all Chicagoans can do their part. There are thousands of people in Chicago, especially children, that are not up to date with the MMR vaccine. We encourage everyone to ensure their children are vaccinated, especially so if they are traveling, and also ensure that children are vaccinated when returning to school after spring break,” said CDPH Commissioner Olusimbo 'Simbo' Ige, MD, MPH. “New arrivals didn't bring measles to Chicago, it was circulating here and they are vulnerable to it because many come from countries where they didn't receive the vaccinations we in the United States do, and they're living in congregate settings where it can spread more easily. We're now doing the hard work to contain that spread, and I want to thank the CDPH staff and our many partners, in particular Prism and Cimpar, who are making this happen.”

CDPH has identified 52 confirmed cases of measles, the majority of which have been associated with the Pilsen new arrivals shelter on Halsted Street. Of the 52 confirmed cases, 31 are in children below the age of 5, underscoring the critical importance of childhood vaccination in fighting the spread of this highly infectious disease. It is important to note that measles testing is an involved process and test results can come back in waves, resulting in clusters of cases being announced at once. This is not necessarily indicative of an actual surge in cases.

CDPH Medical Director Dr. Geraldine Luna, Deputy Commissioner Maribel Chavez-Torres, and Medical Director Dr. Alexander Sloboda gave information sessions and messaging about measles and the MMR vaccine to residents at the Halsted Shelter.

The MMR vaccine is available at most doctor's offices and pharmacies, and is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective. Illinois children as young as 7 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. Immunization records recorded in the Illinois immunization registry can be accessed using the Illinois Department of Public Health Vax Verify portal. For more information on measles please visit the CDPH website.

Chicago City Resource Guide

The Community Safety and Coordination Center has published the Introductory Guide to City Services, providing Chicago residents with the necessary information to access City resources and participate in our communities fully. It aims to simplify communication between Chicagoans and City departments, address inquiries or concerns, and establish a sustainable relationship between the City and its residents. To access the Guide to City Services and learn more about how you can take advantage of Chicago's many programs and offerings, visit the City of Chicago's website.