In a follow-up to a report earlier this week, The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting a second confirmed case of measles. This case of measles is unrelated to the case IDPH reported on January 14, 2018.
Health officials say it is important to note that these two individuals did not become infected while at O’Hare airport, but had already contracted measles. There is not a measles outbreak at O’Hare airport. The newly reported case, who was infectious at the time, was at the locations listed below. Two hours have been added to the time after the individual left. The measles virus can linger in the air and on surfaces hours after an infected individual leaves the area.
People who are considered to be close contacts and most at risk, including passengers on the inbound flight to Chicago O’Hare and others in the airport, are being contacted directly by local health departments. Hospitals and health care facilities are working to identify all possible areas of exposure and notify susceptible patients, staff, and visitors. IDPH is working with local health departments and hospitals during this investigation and information is subject to change.
Most individuals are vaccinated routinely in childhood and are not at high risk. Of most concern are people who have not been vaccinated. Individuals who think they have been exposed should check with their health care provider about protection through prior vaccination or the need for vaccination. The health care provider will determine the need for vaccination and/or testing.
If infected, individuals could develop symptoms as late as February 1, 2018. Symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. If individuals develop symptoms of measles, IDPH recommends they call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department. Special arrangements can be made for evaluation while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.
Measles can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Measles is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.
“It is important for everyone who can be vaccinated to get vaccinated, if they aren’t already,” said IDPH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Layden. “Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons. Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles. ”