Measles Outbreak in Minnesota Within Somali Community Spreads Through State

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The recent measles outbreak in Minnesota, which was confined to 20 members of the Somali community in Hennepin County, part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, has now spread across the state.

“The Minnesota Department of Health reports the state’s measles outbreak has spread from Hennepin County to Stearns County, totaling 29 cases, marking a new record,” KSTP reports.

“Twenty-five cases have been confirmed in the Somali community,” KSTP adds.

The Minnesota Department of Health added that: “The same number of cases [25] revealed the people affected were unvaccinated. However, in one case, the child had one MMR vaccination.”

MDH reports 28 cases are confirmed in Hennepin County, and one case is in Stearns County. In the past 20 years, 2011 had the most cases with 26 total.

The remaining cases have not been verified. All cases are children between the ages of 0 and 5.

The city of St. Cloud, located about 65 miles northwest of Minneapolis, is the county seat of Stearns County.

Breitbart News asked the Minnesota Department of Health if they could confirm if the four cases of the 29 that were not among the 25 “confirmed in the Somali community” were in the general population not part of the Somali commuity.

“No – they simply haven’t been verified yet,” a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Health tells Breitbart News.

“Most likely Somali. There’s always a bit of a lag pending investigation,” the spokesperson adds.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger blamed the measles outbreak on “misinformation” that was provided to the Minnesota Somali community, not on the health practices common in that community.

“This outbreak is about unvaccinated children, not specific communities. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Somali community has been targeted with misinformation about vaccine risks. We’re partnering with Somali community leaders and health care providers to counteract that misinformation,” Ehlinger said in a statement released by the Minnesota Department of Health earlier this month.

“There are people of all backgrounds around the state who have chosen not to protect themselves or their children. Often that decision is based on good intentions and inaccurate information. It’s the responsibility of all of us who care about the health of Minnesota children to make sure people have accurate information and take action to protect their families and their communities,” Ehlinger added in an additional statement issued by the Minnesota Department of Health on Monday.

That statement also specifically addressed the Somali community in Minnesota:

MDH also recommends that all Somali Minnesotan children statewide who have already received their first dose of MMR vaccine get their second dose now. This special vaccine schedule is commonly recommended during outbreaks instead of waiting until 4 to 6 years old for the second dose. Parents of Somali Minnesotan children should contact their child’s health care provider and specifically tell them the child needs the MMR vaccine. This may help avoid a longer wait associated with scheduling a routine appointment.

Minneapolis-St. Paul is home to the largest Somali community in the United States, estimated to be around 70,000.

“Since FY 2002, 100,246 Somali refugees have resettled in the United States, according to the State Department’s interactive website. Of these, 99.9 percent, or 99,909, are Muslim,” Breitbart News reported in December.

Assimilation of resettled Somalis in this country has been a significant problem, and continues to be so.

In 2016, two Somali refugees, one in a Minnesota mall, the other at Ohio State University, attacked and injured more than 20 Americans. Both refugees were killed by law enforcement during the attacks.

On the public health front, Somali refugees in Minnesota have been identified as responsible for 22 percent (161 out of 732) of the cases of active tuberculosis (TB) diagnosed between 2010 and 2014, despite accounting for about one percent of the state’s population, as Breitbart News reported.

“Hennepin County  is also the site of two recent cases of active tuberculosis at local public high schools . . . The letter to parents from St. Louis Park Public Schools informing them of the case of active TB in January was sent in three languages: English, Spanish, and Somali, ” as Breitbart News reported.

Recently, female genital mutilation (FGM) within the American Somali community has come to the forefront as a significant problem as well.

Earlier this month, two doctors and another person were arrested in Livonia, Michigan on charges of conducting illegal FGM procedures on young Somali girls transported from Minnesota.

In 2014, the Refugee Womens Health Center in Phoenix, Arizona told NBC News that 98 percent of all Somali women treated there (a total of 247 over five years between 2010 and 2014) were victims of FGM.


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