CHICAGO (CBS) — On Sunday morning, as police briefed the media on a mass shooting that occurred overnight, CBS 2 cameras stumbled upon a sign outside the 25th Police Precinct that some find troubling. He notified the community of an apparent measles outbreak inside the station, adding that those who enter the building are putting themselves at risk.
It was an announcement that caught not only CBS 2, but also some medical experts, by surprise.
The notice read: “This facility has been contaminated by an outbreak of measles. By entering, you accept this risk.”
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. It is transmitted by close or direct contact, through sneezing or coughing, and could cause many health problems, including death, for those who are not vaccinated. It was eliminated in the United States in 2000, and cases have been sporadic among the unvaccinated.
CBS 2 has learned from law enforcement sources that three cases have been reported in the 25th District. Sources say a supervisor sent a message to staff alerting them to the cases. It’s unclear when exactly that happened, and CBS 2 is still working to confirm those cases with health officials.
According to a health professional, in addition to the standard notice of the outbreak, the public must also be informed of the exposure schedule.
“It’s helpful to know that symptoms can, after being exposed to measles, have an incubation window of 10 to 14 days before symptoms appear. So, that’s a very important thing to tell the public about because they don’t appear immediately after exposure,” said epidemiologist Dr. Katrine Wallace of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Since CBS 2 began asking questions about the situation in the 25th district, that notice has been removed.
The City of Chicago issued the following statement Sunday night:
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) continues to consult with Cook County and community health partners on the health of the new arrivals, and while precautions were taken this morning out of an abundance of caution, in At this time it is highly unlikely that you have measles. Normal operations have resumed for the 25th Precinct Police Station. It is important to note that due to high vaccination coverage, vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and chickenpox are rare in the US and most Chicagoans are protected by routine childhood immunizations or, in some cases, childhood infections. While this is a challenging situation, we do not consider it a public health crisis, and reports that migrants may be the source of disease spread in Chicago are inaccurate and may fuel xenophobia. The City continues to monitor the situation with our partners and provide appropriate guidance and services as needed.
CBS 2 also contacted the Illinois Department of Public Health. State health officials say they are looking into it.