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CDC sends team to Chicago to help contain measles outbreak at migrant shelter


(The Center Square) – A measles outbreak in Chicago, which likely originated in migrant shelters, is expanding.

The Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed three more cases of measles at a migrant shelter. That brings the total cases to eight, with seven of them contained to shelters.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it was sending a team to Chicago to help support local and state health officials in their fight against the highly contagious disease.

According to the World Health Organization, measles can easily spread when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. The first symptoms of a measles infection include high fever, coughing, and red, watery eyes.

“I was the one who called the White House to make sure that the CDC would be coming to Chicago to advise and make sure that the actions that are being taken now are put in place,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at an unrelated news conference Wednesday.

This week, about 900 measles vaccinations have been administered at the shelter where the first cases were found. It can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect.

State officials have been moving migrant families who have been exposed to measles at shelters to hotels, with an emphasis on pregnant women and babies.

“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,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Olusimbo “Simbo” Ige said in a statement.

As of last week, the CDC said there have been 45 cases of measles across the country this year.