2nd child at Pilsen migrant shelter diagnosed with measles is a CPS student; city marks 3rd case

ByStephanie Wade, Cate Cauguiran, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, March 11, 2024
Migrant shelter child diagnosed with 3rd measles case is CPS student
A third Chicago measles case was diagnosed in a CPS student at a migrant shelter in Pilsen, Chicago Department of Public Health officials said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A second case of measles involving a child living inside a Pilsen migrant shelter was announced on Sunday. The child attends a CPS school.

The newest case marks the third person in the city to have contracted the dangerous virus since last Thursday.

A team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be sent to Chicago to help with the response, according to the city.

CDPH officials say the child infected with the measles is in the hospital in good condition.

The first child has recovered and is no longer infectious. An investigation is underway to determine who the children may have come into contact with while contagious.

Residents at the Pilsen shelter who were recently vaccinated have been encouraged to quarantine at the shelter for 21 days.

"We have advised all unvaccinated and newly vaccinated residents of the quarantine period but some of those residents have left the shelter..." a statement from CDPH Commissioner Dr. Olusimbo 'Simbo' Ige read in part.

Chicago Public Schools has notified staff and families of the CPS school which the migrant child attended to be aware of the situation.,

"As we let you know on Friday, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) learned Thursday, March 7, 2024 that a young child, not of school age, at a newcomer shelter was diagnosed with measles," CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said in part in message to CPS families. "Since that time, a second case of measles in a child has been reported, this time in a young child who does attend a CPS school. The school leadership, staff, and families at the impacted school have already been notified about the situation. Out of an abundance of caution, CDPH advised families at the impacted shelter to keep their school-aged children in place and avoid attending school Friday. This will continue to be the case on Monday, March 11."

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who represents the 25th Ward, hosted a meeting Sunday night with the residents at the shelter.

"CDPH is working with medical teams to vaccinate the remaining 13% of residents that have not presented proof of vaccination," a statement Sigcho-Lopez read in part.

Teams from CDPH and other healthcare partners have been on site at the Pilsen shelter throughout the weekend, screening residents for symptoms and administering vaccines as needed.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Damilola Adeyemi says those who received the measles vaccine as a child have lifelong protection.

"The measles virus is very contagious. If somebody was infected with measles, coughs, sneezes in any area, it can hang up in the air for the next two hours," Adeyemi said. "The people who are infected can infect up to 90-percent of people that are exposed to that are not immune."

Other health officials are concerned this could grow into an outbreak.

"Measles is the most easily spread common infectious communicable disease besides the common cold and much more serious," said former Chicago Assistant Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Ehrman.

Ehrman joined local organizations in meeting with city leaders to try to get a better handle on protecting the health of these new arrivals. Police station response tier volunteer Annie Gomberg said she saw this coming because safety protocols are lacking.

"This is exactly the sort of thing we predicted," Gomberg said. "Many times, and we told the mayor's office many times, it was a matter of time."

Gomberg has volunteered at several shelters around the city and said not enough is being done to check the vaccination records of each individual.

"They are doing observation checks. They have a questionnaire. They're making sure there aren't major medical issues with new arrivals," she said.

Ald. Sigcho-Lopez said on there are 1,876 people living there, including 95 toddlers between the ages of 1 and 2.

"This is a matter of public health it concerns every Chicagoan it concerns every resident to make sure the kids are," he said.

Ald. Sigcho-Lopez said the health screenings of new arrivals should be done by the states at the landing site to avoid vaccine hesitancy, which he said is a reality for some.

"Unfortunately without this being a precaution at the landing zone, and when this is not a precaution at the points of entry, we always have higher risks," he said.

The Chicago Department of Public Health said vaccination teams were on site at the shelter Friday, adding, "A case investigation is underway to ensure those they may have come in contact with while infectious are informed and vaccinated."

This is the second case in Chicago. The investigation is on to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the first patient on the North Side.

That patient went to Swedish Hospital's Galter Pavilion in the 5100-block of North California, last Tuesday to seek care.

The patient also rode the number 92 Foster CTA bus, between 9 and 11:30 a.m. That person is now recovering at home.

Measles is making a comeback because of vaccine hesitancy health officials said.

In the first two months of this year, there were 41 cases in the U.S. All of last year, there were only 58.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get two doses of the MMR vaccine.

That first dose is given ages 12 to 15 months. The second dose between the ages of 4 and 6.

Adults are also eligible to get one dose of the vaccine, if they're not already immune.