Tuberculosis Outbreak at Chicago Migrant Shelters Confirmed

( – The migrant crisis has led to various effects on the United States economy, but a new public health problem has emerged within migrant shelters where illegal migrants are living in close quarters.

Over 55 measles cases were confirmed by health officials, with most stemming from the Pilsen migrant shelter. A vaccination operation was conducted at the shelter to try and prevent additional cases. Now, officials recently announced that a “small number” of tuberculosis (TB) cases have been confirmed, although between 10 and 20 percent of people who live in Central and South America will always test positive for TB because of a latent infection.

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the cases were confirmed in “a few different shelters,” but did not divulge the number of cases or the location of the shelters that were affected. CDPH said that it has teams performing contact tracing for the contagious bacterial disease that normally shows up in the lungs. CDPH also said that TB is not easily spread, as it requires long periods of close contact to be transmitted. It is cured by antibiotic administration. According to CPDH, Chicago sees around 100-150 cases every year but made clear that the current outbreak is not a public health threat.

The people who are most at risk of infection are the illegal migrants living in the shelters in close quarters. However, migrant children attending schools in the United States are not required to follow the injection schedule that most schools have adopted. Chicago alderman Raymond Lopez told Fox and Friends that the TB and measles outbreaks could have been prevented if the illegal migrants had been given the injections that American citizens were required to take. Preventative injection for TB is uncommon in the United States, but children in other countries where the disease is more prevalent are often given the shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of TB cases in 2023 was higher than in the last 10 years.

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