City detects first case of measles in Chicago in 5 years

Chicago public health officials on Thursday said they had identified the first case of measles in the city since 2019 and urged city residents to make sure they were vaccinated against the disease.

Illinois saw five measles cases in 2023, public health officials said.

The source of the infection in the Chicago case is unknown, but the contagious period ended Wednesday, officials said in a news release.

People who were at the Galter Medical Pavilion at Swedish Hospital on the city’s Northwest Side or riding the CTA 92 Foster bus the morning of Feb. 27 may have been exposed to measles and should call the health department, officials said.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can be dangerous to babies and young children, the release said. The disease spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes or when a person comes into contact with an infected person’s mucus or saliva, according to state public health information.

Measles symptoms may not appear for one to three weeks after exposure to the disease and include a rash, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a high fever, according to the news release. The disease can lead to complications like pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Olusimbo Ige urged Chicago residents to make sure they are vaccinated against measles and check with their children’s health care providers to make sure they are up to date on immunizations, recommended for babies 1 year old and children between the ages of 4 and 6.

“The key to preventing measles is vaccination. If you are not vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine,” Ige said in a release. “If you are unsure whether you’ve been vaccinated, ask your healthcare provider.”

Officials said the person suffering from the reported case of measles is recovering at home and that people who think they may have measles should call a health care provider before seeking care in person.