Measles Cases Spike In Minnesota

Ray Weaver
April 30, 2017

Because measles spreads easily among unvaccinated populations, it's especially important to be adequately protected during outbreaks, local health officials said.

All of the cases are children ages 0 to 5, and 31 of the 32 cases are children who have been confirmed to have been unvaccinated. The Health Department recommends that Somali-Minnesotan children statewide who have received their first dose of MMR vaccine - often done at 12 months - get their second dose now.

The health commissioner's office in Hennepin County reported that are now 30 cases of children who have been diagnosed with measles, with 28 of them being Somali refugees who have not received any vaccinations.

Officials continue to urge that the best way to keep your children safe is to get them vaccinated, and stay up to date with boosters. Those most at risk of being infected with the measles are people who have had no doses or only one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine or who have not had the measles.

The department's vaccine recommendations may expand if the measles outbreak spreads to more communities.

Before the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, 450 to 500 children in the US died from the disease and 48,000 were hospitalized each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parents of Somali Minnesotan children should contact their child's health care provider and specifically tell them the child needs the MMR vaccine, MDH says.

"The case against vaccinations is first an Islamic one", he said, citing a 2011 article by Dr. Majid Katme, spokesman for the Islamic Medical Association in the United Kingdom. Maintaining high immunization rates is essential to preventing measles. But the center believes that honesty and transparency with families is key, and wanted to make sure families had as much information as could be provided. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes followed by a rash that typically spreads from head to the rest of the body.

Laku said children who previously received the vaccine but are less than five years can still be vaccinated to boost their immunity against the disease. However, this approach was unsuccessful in changing many parents' mindset and failed to debunk the myth of measles vaccines causing autism.

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