By NewsDesk @bactiman63
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is alerting the public that they were notified of an unvaccinated 13-month-old traveler who was diagnosed with measles and who was at O’Hare International Airport earlier this month while contagious. The child and family were returning from a visit to an international location. Travelers through O’Hare on the date and times noted below who have received standard childhood vaccines do not need to take action, but those who are unvaccinated should check their immunization records and reach out to their health care provider if they develop symptoms of measles.
Possible exposures may have occurred on November 4th at the following locations:
Date Time Location
November 4, 2020 6 pm – 8 pm O’Hare International Airport, Terminal 5
6 pm – 9:30 pm O’Hare International Airport, Terminal 3
*These times include the period when the individual was at the location, which is believed to be 6-7:30pm, and two hours after. Measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious with measles leaves the area. It is standard procedure for CDPH to notify the public of possible exposures.
“Measles is highly contagious and any unvaccinated or non-immune person can become infected,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “The best protection against measles is through immunization, and everyone should make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on their vaccines.”
The CDC recommends all children get two doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Children can receive the second dose earlier, as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose. One dose of MMR vaccine is sufficient for most adults. If traveling internationally, individuals are at higher risk and should follow CDC’s travel recommendations.
Although there is no ongoing risk to the public from the O’Hare exposure, residents are encouraged to review their immunization records or contact their health care provider to make sure they are up to date on MMR vaccine. To assess your risk of getting measles and find additional resources for locating vaccination records, visit www.doyourpartchi.org.
The City of Chicago has one of the highest vaccination rates for the MMR vaccine in the nation, so most individuals in the city are protected from measles. As of data from 2019, 94 percent of children between 19 months and three years in Chicago have received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. While some families may have delayed routine health care in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that Chicago residents stay up-to-date with childhood and adult vaccinations and routine vaccines are available now through your health care provider.
Unfortunately, as COVID-19 continues to spread globally, over 176 million people in 41 countries may miss out on receiving life-saving measles vaccines. In a study released this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), progress toward measles elimination was significant until the COVID-19 pandemic began. Since 2000, estimated measles deaths had decreased 62% and the measles vaccination has prevented an estimated 25.5 million deaths worldwide. However, progress towards measles elimination worldwide has stalled with the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a sharp increase in the number of new infections – the highest number reported in 23 years – and a tragic rise in measles deaths.
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