Measles Exposure Alert for Arlington Heights CCH Health Facility and Stroger Hospital in Chicago

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Cook County Health Arlington Heights Health Center, 3250 North Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights between University Drive and Dundee Road (CARDINAL NEWS)
Cook County Health Arlington Heights Health Center, 3250 North Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights between University Drive and Dundee Road (CARDINAL NEWS).

According to an announcement Monday, March 11, 2024 from Cook County Health (CCH), exposures in two facilities (Stroger Hospital Emergency Department and the CCH Arlington Heights Health Center) are related to two of the five confirmed measles cases reported by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

“On February 27, 2024 a patient with measles-like symptoms presented to the Stroger Hospital Emergency Department,” according to CCH. “The patient’s PCR test came back positive on March 5, 2024. The patient was admitted on February 27 under proper isolation and airborne precautions.”

“On March 7, 2024, a second patient, who visited CCH’s Arlington Heights Health Center and CCH’s Professional Building, later tested positive for measles,” according to CCH.

Officials at Cook County Health (CCH) are asking any person who was at the Stroger Hospital Emergency Department, or CCH’s Arlington Heights Health Center during the above exposure timeline (Feb 27, 2024 and March 7, 2024) to contact the Chicago Department of Publich Health (CDPH), at 312-743-7216.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024, a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be in Chicago assisting with the city’s response to the measles cases following a rise in cases of the highly contagious virus, according to the CDC.

Among five cases in the City of Chicago, four are linked to the shelter for migrant in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

The first case of measles detected this year was not connected to a migrant shelter, according to a CDPH announcement.


CDC | Measles

What is measles?
Measles is a serious respiratory disease (in the lungs and breathing tubes)

It causes a rash and fever.

It is very contagious.

In rare cases, it can be deadly.

Symptoms of measles.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles starts with a fever that can get very high. Some of the other symptoms that may occur are:

Cough, runny nose, and red eyes

Rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spread to the rest of the body


Ear infection

Is measles serious?

Number of people hospitalized with measles.

Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children.

For some children, measles can lead to:

Pneumonia (a serious lung infection)

Lifelong brain damage



How does measles spread?

Measles spreads when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes.

It is very contagious.

You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to 2 hours after that person is gone.

And you can catch measles from an infected person even before they have a measles rash.

While a Spring 2024 outbreak of measles is apparently developing, historically an outbreak of measles was last declared in northern Illinois (suburban Cook County) in October 2023. PCR testing for measles virus performed by the IDPH public health laboratory was positive for measles virus in four individuals; another individual was evaluated was showing signs compatible with early measles who had a history of contact to a person with a positive PCR test.

All five of these individuals were unvaccinated. Heightened clinical suspicion by hospital Emergency Department providers was credited with expedited diagnoses of these cases. The latest case of the previous outbreak was identified on October 31, 2023. The Cook County Department of Public Health investigated the newest two cases to determine all potential exposure locations. The other two cases were known close contacts to the index case, so quarantine limited exposures to the household.

Prior to these cases in the Fall 2023 outbreak, the last measles case in Illinois was identified in 2019. Diagnosis and Treatment Healthcare providers and facilities were advised to be alert for possible measles cases.

The measles prodrome (early sign or symptom that often indicates the onset of a disease) usually lasts for two to four days but may persist for as long as eight days.

Symptoms typically include fever, malaise, and anorexia, followed by conjunctivitis, coryza, and cough. The prodromal symptoms typically intensify a few days before the rash appears. The measles rash is typically maculopapular and starts on the head or hairline and spreads down the body. Providers should also be suspicious in those that are ill and had recent travel to countries where there are measles outbreaks.

Patients with a suspect measles case should be immediately placed in airborne isolation, and infection control should be notified in the health care facility.

Unimmunized contacts of measles cases can be vaccinated within 3 days of exposure, or in some special situations given immune globulin within 6 days of exposure to prevent or ameliorate the measles illness.

Providers should consider administering a second MMR to contacts over 12 months of age who were previously vaccinated with one dose, as long as there are 28 or more days since the last dose of live vaccine.

When to Suspect Measles
(from the Chicago Department of Public Health, last updated October 2023)

When to suspect measles in an individual with rash and fever?

Query patients about a history of international travel, contact with foreign visitors, transit through an international
airport, or possible exposure to a measles patient in the 3 weeks prior to symptom onset.

Check the CDC measles outbreak website and CDPH measles HAN page for up to date information on local and domestic exposure locations.

If the patient has a history consistent with exposure or a clinical presentation highly suggestive of measles* (with or
without exposure history), then consider testing for measles. *Clinical consultation with CDPH recommended.

Measles Testing Recommendations
Contact the health department immediately to facilitate testing:
Monday-Friday during normal working hours call: 312-743-9000

After hours, weekends, and holidays, call 311 and ask for the communicable disease physician on-call.

Measles Serology (via commercial reference laboratory)

1. Detection of specific IgM antibodies in a serum sample collected within the first few days of rash onset can provide presumptive evidence of a current or recent measles virus infection. However, because no assay is 100% specific, serologic testing of non-measles cases using any assay will occasionally produce false positive IgM results.

2. Draw 1-2 ml blood in a red top tube; spin down serum if possible. NOTE: 50-100 µl of capillary blood (approximately 3 capillary tubes) may be collected in situations where venipuncture is not preferred, such as for young children.

3. Draw blood for IgM antibody testing as soon as possible. Occasionally, false-negative measles IgM results occur when blood specimens are collected within 72 hours after rash onset. A second blood sample, collected 72 hours after rash onset, should be tested in this situation. A positive serologic test result for measles IgM antibody indicates recent infection or recent vaccination.

4. Obtain acute and convalescent serum specimens for measles specific IgG antibody to confirm a measles diagnosis. Acute and convalescent specimens should be tested as paired sera. Draw blood for acute IgG as early as possible when measles infection is suspected. For convenience, the blood drawn for measles IgM antibody testing may be used for the acute IgG. Draw blood for convalescent IgG approximately 2 weeks after blood was drawn for the acute IgG.

See also …

Cook County Department of Public Health



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