CDC sending team to Chicago to help respond to city’s 1st measles cases since 2019: CDPH

Written by on March 11, 2024

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(CHICAGO) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending a team to Chicago to help respond to the first measles cases detected in the city since 2019, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) confirmed to ABC News.

Three cases of the highly infectious virus have been confirmed over the last week.

The CDC confirmed to ABC News a team is being sent to the city and is expected to arrive Tuesday.

“CDC is sending a team of experts to support the local response to the recent measles cases with arrival expected tomorrow,” a spokesperson told ABC News on Monday. “CDC continues to recommend the safe and effective MMR vaccination as part of the routine immunizations schedule for all children and adults, with special guidance for international travel. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.”

The CDPH announced Sunday a second case of measles had been identified at a new arrivals shelter in Pilsen.

The two cases at the shelter are among young children, the CDPH said. The first patient recovered and is no longer infectious while the second patient is hospitalized in good condition, according to CDPH.

The third, unrelated case occurred in a Chicago resident whose source of infection is unknown but whose contagious period ended March 6, health officials said.

The CDPH said it is now doubling down on its message to all Chicagoans, including those at the new arrivals shelter, to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their communities.

Officials told ABC News station WLS-TV that 13% of shelter residents remain unvaccinated while those recently vaccinated have been encouraged to quarantine at the shelter for 21 days.

The CDC currently recommends two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine with the first dose given between ages 12 to 15 months and the second dose between ages 4 and 6. Adults are eligible to receive one dose of the vaccine if they are not immune.

The MMR vaccine is required to attend Chicago Public Schools but parents are allowed to seek exemptions for religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

CDPH Commissioner Olusimbo “Simbo” Ige said recently that the risk to most people is low because the majority of Chicagoans are vaccinated against measles, but urged those aren’t vaccinated to do as soon as possible.

The vaccine “is by far the best protection against measles, which for the first time in years is in our city,” Ige said. “Because of how contagious measles is, I anticipate seeing more cases. Should you be exposed to someone who has measles, if you are not vaccinated you need to immediately quarantine and call a health provider. If you are not sure of your vaccination status, stay home and call your health provider as soon as possible.”

Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but pockets of unvaccinated or undervaccinated communities have led to sporadic outbreaks over the last several years.

As of March 7, 2025, 45 measles cases have been reported in 16 states — California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington — according to the CDC.

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