Chicago measles case confirmed, first since 2019; possible exposure at 2 locations in February

ByEric Horng and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, March 7, 2024
Chicago measles case confirmed, first since 2019
Chicago has confirmed its first measles case since 2019, and two locations of potential exposures, CDPH health officials said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago has confirmed its first measles case since 2019, and two locations of potential exposures.

The Chicago Department of Public Health said the case is in a city resident, and the source of the infection is unknown. The infectious period ended Wednesday, March 6, CDPH said.

The patient is now recovering well at home, health officials said.

Health officials said they have not identified any link between this measles case and the case in an Indiana resident who sought treatment at three Chicago hospitals last month while contagious. CDPH said that case did not result in any infections among Chicago residents.

Health officials said the patient was in two public settings in which they cannot obtain a list of all exposed people. If you were in the following locations on Feb. 27, 2024, you may have been exposed to measles:

Galter Medical Pavilion at Swedish Hospital, located at 5140 N. California Ave., between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.

CTA Bus #92 (Foster) between 9:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

If you were at either of the above locations during those times, please immediately contact CDPH at 312-743-7216, Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

"Measles is airborne, which means it suspends in the air for multiple hours, even two days after that person was in the vicinity," explained Dr. Nicholas Cozzi, Rush University Medical Center.

Illinois had five confirmed measles cases in 2023, the first the state recorded since 2019 when the last measles case was confirmed in Chicago.

Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Symptoms can take seven to 21 days to show up after exposures. If you develop measles symptoms, you should contact your doctor or other health provider by phone before going to a medical office or emergency room so that special arrangements can be made to protect others from potential exposure.

Measles is highly contagious and can be dangerous, and even deadly, to people who are unvaccinated, particularly young children and babies. Measles vaccination is highly effective at preventing infection and transmission.

"This is not a cause for panic or a cause for alarm. It's called for good prevention, which is immunization," said Cozzi.

Once common in previous generations, measles was declared eliminated in 2000 but has since made a comeback because of vaccine hesitancy. In the first two months of 2024, there have been 41 measles cases in the U.S. In all of2023, there were only 58.

"Measles is much more contagious than COVID-19. It's incredibly safe in terms of the vaccination," Cozzi said.