Measles cases in Chicago rise to five, prompting CDC assistance and quarantine measures

Officials revealed on Monday that the number of confirmed measles cases in Chicago since last week is now up to five – most of them, among new arrivals.

Since 2019, there hadn’t been a single confirmed case of measles in the city. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms it is sending a team of experts to offer support, with arrival expected Tuesday.

On Monday, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) stated that two adults living at a migrant shelter in Pilsen had become infected with measles. Health officials say both adults are stable.

This, after two migrant children living at the same shelter, located at 2241 S. Halsted Street, were diagnosed with the disease. One of those migrant children attends Chicago Public Schools, officials confirmed on Sunday.

"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," the CDPH said.

The first migrant child diagnosed with measles has recovered. The second child is hospitalized in good condition, according to the health department.

The CDPH continued to collaborate with community and healthcare partners at the shelter over the weekend to screen residents for symptoms and get them vaccinated.

"This is a growing national crisis, there has been an uptick around the country. Our public health department, we’re on the ground, particularly at various shelters to make sure we’re getting as many people vaccinated as possible and as quickly as possible," said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson.

The CDPH is urging all new arrivals and Chicago residents to be vaccinated against measles to protect themselves and the community. 

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can lead to pneumonia and other complications. It is especially challenging for babies and young children.

"The majority of Chicagoans are vaccinated against measles and therefore are not at high risk, but we are strongly urging those who aren’t vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, new arrivals and all Chicagoans. It is by far the best protection against measles, which for the first time in years is in our city," said Olusimbo 'Simbo' Ige, CDPH Commissioner. "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."

As the number of measles cases at one of Chicago’s largest migrant shelters doubled to four on Monday, dozens of migrants were moving out while hundreds are now in quarantine, according to the CDPH.

"Over the weekend and in partnership with Cook County Health, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Illinois-Chicago, CDPH assessed nearly all residents of the Pilsen shelter where there have been four confirmed measles cases, and successfully vaccinated more than 900 shelter residents with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. More than 700 shelter residents who were assessed and found to already be immune from previous vaccination or infection were allowed to enter and exit the facility. Those who are newly vaccinated were instructed to remain at the shelter for 21 days from date of vaccination, which is when the vaccine confers full immunity," an updated statement from the CDPH said Monday.

Dr. Tina Tan, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, explained why the U.S. is currently dealing with several measles outbreaks.

"Since the pandemic, we do know that there are more individuals that are vaccine-hesitant and are trying to get either a religious exemption or a medical exemption for not being vaccinated," said Tan.

She says that, along with an influx of new arrivals, will likely lead even more cases.

"Unfortunately, in this migrant shelter, many of the countries these people come from, they don’t use measles vaccines on a routine basis," said Tan. "Kids can get very sick with it and the best way to protect your kids is to get them vaccinated if they are not already vaccinated."

Residents of the Pilsen shelter who were previously vaccinated can enter and exit the facility at their own discretion. However, the unvaccinated and those who were just vaccinated are being asked to quarantine for three weeks and watch for symptoms.

"We have advised all unvaccinated and newly vaccinated residents of the quarantine period but some of those residents have left the shelter, and I want to acknowledge that," Dr. Ige said. "That is why we so strongly advise the unvaccinated to get the vaccine and to immediately quarantine if you have had contact with anyone with measles."

Reidimar Marinez, who lives at the Pilsen migrant shelter, said she and her children have the measles vaccine. She and her family have been in Chicago since December and said they're not concerned about the reported cases. 

The CDPH says they're working on vaccinating the remaining 13% of families that haven't shown proof of vaccination against measles.


Measles exposure alert issued by Cook County Health following confirmed cases in Chicago

Cook County Health is alerting patients and visitors to potential measles exposures within its facilities following confirmation of two measles cases in Chicago.

The first measles case in Chicago since 2019 was reported on Thursday in a Chicago resident who said they had not traveled outside the city but did report interactions with domestic and international travelers. Their infectious period ended Wednesday and they are now recovering well at home, officials said.

Last month, an Indiana resident came up positive for measles and reportedly visited three Chicago hospitals while contagious.

City health officials say there is no link between the Indiana and Illinois cases.

The symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, according to the CDPH. After exposure, the symptoms can take seven to 21 days to appear.

For more information, follow this link.

Chicago has taken in more than 36,000 migrants since they began arriving in 2022.

Byron Sigcho-Lopez, alderman of the 25th Ward, issued this statement Sunday evening on the new measles case:

"The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is investigating a 2nd confirmed case of measles at the new arrival shelter located at 2241 S. Halsted. Due to the severity and risk this imposes on individuals who are not vaccinated, changes described as follows have been implemented at the 2241 S. Halsted Shelter.

Ald. Sigcho-Lopez and staff were on sight, as of 10am, today to assist with language and culturally related barriers. It is imperative to the residents and Chicago residents at large to get the MMR vaccine. Residents of the 2241 S Halsted shelter who were vaccinated after Feb. 8th are strongly encouraged to remain in quarantine at the shelter for 21 days. CDPH along with medical groups have been on-sight, around the clock, to provide and encourage vaccination against measles to all residents. CDPH is working with medical teams to vaccinate the remaining 13% of residents that have not presented proof of vaccination.

Those at higher risk are residents that have not received the MMR vaccine in the last 21 days, this includes but is not limited to, pregnant women, children under 12 months of age and those without a vaccination record. Adults who aren't sure if they are vaccinated against measles should visit their primary care provider or visit a CDPH Health clinic. Parents are strongly encouraged to communicate with their school administration for any pending questions regarding their school-aged children.

Our office continues to be on-site, and is working closely with CDPH and the Mayor’s office to meet the goal of vaccinating all residents of the Halsted shelter. Should you have any questions please out to our office at 773-523-4100 or by emailing"