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Chicago measles outbreak in 2024: State and city health department leaders share lessons learned as cases rise to 61

Chicago measles outbreak in 2024: State and city health department leaders share lessons learned as cases rise to 61


CHICAGO (WLS) — On Tuesday, leaders from many hospitals met with city and state health department heads to discuss the recent measles outbreak, primarily in Chicago.

A total of 61 measles cases have been reported in Chicago so far this year. Several other cases of infection have also been confirmed in the suburbs.

Because Pilsen's migrant shelter became the epicenter of the outbreak, the city moved dozens of families to a Hyde Park hotel, where they were quarantined for 21 days.

“Opportunities like this for direct communication between public health and the health care system are exactly what we need to continue to prepare for and support this outbreak and future public health outbreaks,” said Dr. Samir Bourla, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. This is a way that can be done.”

Health officials considered what had been done right in the health system response and what lessons can be learned from the measles outbreak to best prepare for the future. They also stressed the need to vaccinate unvaccinated people.

“Even if you are not fully vaccinated, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family as much as possible,” Bourla said.

Immigrants are now being tested and vaccinated as soon as they arrive in Chicago, with little hesitation.

“So now that people can be vaccinated and have health screenings before they are placed in a shelter, we are very excited about that possibility,” Chicago Surgeon General said Dr. Simbo Ige.

But the city's health commissioner also expressed concern about the expected increase in immigrants coming to Chicago in the days and weeks leading up to the Democratic National Convention. More than 2,000 migrants are expected each week.

“So we're putting the infrastructure and systems in place to deal with that surge if it happens,” Ige said.

Ige believes that with an emergency preparedness plan in place, the city will be able to handle whatever type of immigration surge Chicago faces in the run up to the DNC.

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