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Migrant Shelter Is Ground Zero For Chicago Measles Outbreak

Local officials have launched a mass vaccination campaign for newly arrived illegal aliens

Migrant Shelter Is Ground Zero For Chicago Measles Outbreak

Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have traveled to Chicago to assist public health officials handling a measles outbreak.

A statement from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) says that the outbreak is the first time in five years the city has had confirmed cases of the measles.

Of the five confirmed cases, four have been identified in the Hasted Street migrant shelter in Pilsen, officials state. Across the entire U.S. there has been a resurgence of measles, with cases being reported in 17 states so far.

According to a local NBC affiliate, all five cases were reported between March 7-12.

In recent days, CDPH, along with Cook County Health, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Illinois-Chicago, assessed nearly all residents of the Pilsen shelter, and vaccinated more than 900 migrants with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

More than 700 others were determined to already have immunity from prior infection or vaccination, officials said. Migrants who were newly vaccinated were instructed to stay at the shelter for at least 21 days from the date of vaccination.

Migrants found to be immune, as well as those needing to quarantine, are being transported to designated hotels.

“This is a massive operation and I thank our many partners who are assisting with it and the new arrivals for understanding the need to get vaccinated and quarantine. As long as measles circulates in Chicago, we will continue to take a proactive approach to protecting as many people as we can from this highly infectious disease,” CDPH Commissioner Olusimbo ‘Simbo’ Ige, MD, MPH, said in the statement. “Vaccination remains by far the most effective way to prevent the spread of measles. New arrivals and all Chicagoans should get the MMR vaccine if they haven’t already.”

Amid the new outbreak, CDPH and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications will have a permanent presence at the landing zone where migrants arrive to the city, providing vaccines as part of the intake process.

The CDC team will be providing clinical guidance to city and state health departments, while also working with community leaders to encourage people to get vaccinated. The agency will also push vaccination campaigns for schools, shelters, and other congregate settings while ensuring there is an adequate supply for people of all ages, CNN reported.

“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,” Ige said in a statement quoted by CNN.

Illinois state officials say that children as young as 7 years old can get vaccinated at pharmacies, while CDPH clinics can provide MMR vaccines at no cost for all children 18 and under.

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