CDC Sending Team to Investigate Measles Outbreak at Illegal Immigrant Center
CDC Sending Team to Investigate Measles Outbreak at Illegal Immigrant Center

By Jack Phillips

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sending a team to investigate a measles outbreak at a Chicago center housing illegal immigrants, the federal agency confirmed Tuesday.

“CDC is sending a team of experts to support the local response to the recent measles cases with arrival expected tomorrow,“ the federal health told news outlets, adding that ”we will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.”

It came as the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a statement that the city reported its first measles case since 2019, adding that the person is recovering well. On Sunday, the health agency said that more cases of the highly transmissible virus were found among children at a “new arrivals” center housing the illegal immigrants in a large warehouse.

The health department on Tuesday told CBS News that so far, four cases of measles have been reported at the center. Chicago Public Schools said that one of the patients was a student who lived at the shelter but who also attended a public school in the city.

One child has since recovered, according to the health officials, but the other child was hospitalized with the virus. The second child is considered to be in good condition, the health department added.

“Case investigations are underway to ensure those the two may have come in contact with while infectious are informed and vaccinated,” the statement said, adding that it recommends that people get the measles vaccine.

Healthcare officials with Cook County Health, Rush University Medical Center, and the University of Illinois-Chicago were “on site” over the past weekend at the shelter, located in the Pilsen district in Chicago, to screen “all residents for symptoms and vaccination status, and administering vaccines as needed,” the statement said.

The CDC will arrive this week in Chicago to “assist with the response” at the center, the health department said. It did not elaborate.

Residents at the center holding the illegal immigrants who have received the measles vaccine can “enter and exit at their own discretion,” although those who haven’t received the shots as well as those who recently arrived will have to remain under quarantine for 21 days, the statement added.

Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services also will provide “increased meal services” to those quarantining at the illegal immigrant center, officials said.

The other measles case that was reported last week was not related to the apparent shelter outbreak, authorities said. The source of the case is not known, but it did not result in secondary cases reported in Chicago.

Other Cases

As of last week, the CDC has reported 45 measles cases across 17 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

In late January, the CDC sent out a health alert to health care providers, saying doctors and nurses should be on the lookout for suspected measles cases amid several outbreaks this year.

The agency said health care providers should “immediately” report suspected measles cases to state and local health agencies, which are then reported to the CDC.

“Do not allow patients with suspected measles to remain in the waiting room or other common areas of the healthcare facility; isolate patients with suspected measles immediately, ideally in a single-patient airborne infection isolation room,” the agency said.

People with suspected cases, it added, should be urged to wait in a private room with a closed door. “Healthcare providers should be adequately protected against measles and should adhere to standard and airborne precautions when evaluating suspect cases regardless of their vaccination status,” the CDC said.

Earlier this year, health officials in the District of Columbia and Virginia issued notices regarding a “case of measles in a person who traveled through” area airports after returning from “international travel.”

In February, a school district in Broward County, Florida, reported several cases of measles. But this week, the district confirmed in a statement that the outbreak is now officially over because no new cases have been reported since it started.

The outbreak triggered a response from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration, which said in a statement last week that there have been other confirmed cases in a number of other states but that Florida is received disproportionate, negative coverage.

“Since January 2024, sixteen states have reported measles cases including: California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington, Indiana, and Arizona. Unfortunately, the measles cases in Florida have received disproportionate attention for political reasons,” the Florida Department of Health said.


Authorities say measles generally shows up in two stages. In the first, most people develop a fever higher than 101 degrees F, runny nose, watery red eyes, or cough. These symptoms generally start seven to 14 days after being exposed.

Officials say the second stage of measles starts about two to three days after the initial symptoms. Some people develop what is known as Koplik spots—tiny white spots—inside the mouth, according to the CDC.

Three to five days after the first symptoms begin, the telltale measles rash starts to appear on the patient’s face near the hairline area before it spreads to the rest of the body, spreading downward, the CDC has said.

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