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Following Measles Cases, TB Breaks Out In Chicago Migrant Shelters

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Following Measles Cases, TB Breaks Out In Chicago Migrant Shelters

(CTN News) – A “small number” of tuberculosis (TB) cases have been reported at some migrant shelters in Chicago following a measles outbreak among migrants.

There were TB cases reported at “a few different shelters” in Chicago, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). Neither the number of confirmed cases nor the shelter locations where they originated were disclosed by authorities, Fox 32 Chicago reported.

Medical teams at the agency are working to address the health issue. The infection caused by tuberculosis in the lungs is caused by bacteria. Chicago now has more than 55 million tuberculosis cases confirmed, with the majority reported in the Pilsen migrant shelter on Halsted Street.

A few cases of TB have been reported in a few shelters over the course of the response, the CDPH said in a statement.

In Central and South America, 10% to 20% of the population has latent tuberculosis, which is asymptomatic and not contagious. A positive TB test, however, is the result, according to CDPH.  Antibiotics can cure measles TB and it isn’t infectious. A prolonged close contact between individuals is typically necessary for the disease to spread.

The Chicago Department of Public Health estimates that 100-150 cases of tuberculosis are diagnosed in Chicago residents every year, according to the CDPH statement. “We will continue to treat individuals as needed and take appropriate precautions to prevent spread of the Measles, but we do not consider this a significant public health risk.”

The outbreak could have been prevented if migrants had been required to follow the same vaccination rules as American citizens, said Chicago alderman Raymond Lopez on Fox and Friends on Thursday morning.

“This is a crisis we could have avoided, just like the measles epidemic, if we had vaccinated all migrants coming to Chicago,” Lopez said. Many of these individuals come with children, they attend our schools, and they’re not required to get the vaccinations that our kids get. These people, families and communities are at risk.”

In other countries where TB is common, infants and small children are often given the BCG vaccine, known as the Measles TB vaccine. As the CDC reports, it is not always effective in preventing TB.

University of Chicago associate professor of medicine Aniruddha Hazra says the vaccine isn’t really effective.

A vaccine against tuberculosis does not exist, Hazra said to Fox 32 Chicago. A lot of outbreaks happen in close quarters, among close neighbors.” Hazra says the public shouldn’t panic, but there are some concerns.

In migrant shelters, Hazra said, the most common disease is tuberculosis, adding that vaccinations can prevent measles. A decade-high number of U.S. tuberculosis cases was reported in 2023, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Overall, 9,615 cases were reported in 2023, an increase of 1,295 cases. The agency reported nearly 10,000 infections in 2013.


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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