Second measles case reported in Chicago area

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - State health officials are reporting a second confirmed case of measles in the Chicago area.

The infected person was at O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5 on Jan. 9 and could have exposed others at the airport to the disease between 8:30 a.m. and noon that day, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The measles virus can linger in the air and on surfaces for hours after an infected person leaves the area, the health department said.

Other times and locations of potential exposure to this case include:

between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Jan. 10 at Concourse Office Plaza, 4709 Golf Road in Skokie;
between 11 p.m. Jan. 10 and 1:20 a.m. Jan. 11 at Evanston Hospital’s emergency department;
between 11:50 p.m. Jan. 10 and 3:30 a.m. Jan. 11 at Skokie Hospital’s emergency department; and
between 3:15 p.m. Jan. 11 and 2:15 a.m. Jan. 13 at the emergency department at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

The health department said this case is not related to the previously-reported case in which a passenger with measles landed at O’Hare’s Terminal 5 on Jan. 10 before departing on a domestic flight from Terminal 1.

“It is important to note that these two individuals did not become infected while at O’Hare airport, but had already contracted measles,” the health department wrote in the statement. “There is not a measles outbreak at O’Hare airport.”

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus, according to public health officials. Symptoms include a rash that starts on the face and neck, a high fever, runny nose, cough and red, watery eyes. The rash generally appears about 14 days after exposure.

Most people are vaccinated against measles routinely in childhood and are not at a high risk of contracting the virus, the health department said. Of most concern, are people who have not been vaccinated. If they were infected, symptoms could develop as late as the end of the month.

“Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Layden with the public health department. “Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons.”