Second child develops measles in Pilsen migrant shelter, officials say

A second child staying at the city’s largest migrant shelter in Pilsen has developed measles, city health officials announced Sunday.

The child has been hospitalized and remains in good condition, according to a statement from the city’s Department of Public Health.

The first case in the shelter was confirmed Friday. That child has recovered and is no longer infectious. An additional, unrelated case outside of the shelter was announced Thursday — the first in Chicago since 2019.

More than 11,500 migrants are currently staying in 23 shelters across Chicago run by the city and state. The Pilsen shelter, housed in a large warehouse, has drawn scrutiny from volunteers and advocates after a 5-year-old resident died of sepsis.

Over 36,800 migrants have arrived in Chicago since August 2022, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began busing new arrivals from the southern border.

Officials are conducting case investigations so that those who have come in contact with the two infected children are informed and vaccinated.

Residents of the shelter who haven’t been vaccinated for measles, or have only recently received the vaccine, will be forced to quarantine for 21 days, according to the CDPH. Previously vaccinated residents will be able to come and go from the facility.

Measles, a serious respiratory infection that causes a rash and high fever, can be particularly severe for young children. The highly contagious disease can lead to other complications, such as pneumonia.

Measles remains extremely rare in Chicago due to high vaccination coverage from childhood.

“The majority of Chicagoans are vaccinated against measles and therefore are not at high risk but we are strongly urging those who aren’t vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, new arrivals and all Chicagoans,” CDPH Commissioner Olusimbo Ige said in a statement.

Still, officials expect that the disease will continue to spread. Some residents have left the shelter despite the quarantine, the city said. Reports of measles have been increasing across the country and globally due to lower vaccination rates.

“Because of how contagious measles is, I anticipate seeing more cases,” Ige said.

The recent measles cases in Chicago are not tied to an outbreak in Indiana last month, which only affected one person, officials said.

karmanini@chicagotribune.com