Minn. Measles Outbreak Spreads: 48 Confirmed Cases, Mostly in Somali Community

Amy Forliti/AP

On Monday afternoon the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that there are now 48 confirmed cases of measles in the state, the highest level in more than twenty years.

This represents an increase of four cases since the last report three days ago on Friday. The first case was diagnosed on April 11.

The outbreak has not expanded beyond the three counties where cases were previously confirmed.

Forty-five cases have been confirmed in Hennepin County, two in Ramsey County, and one in Crow Wing County.

Forty-five cases have been “confirmed to be unvaccinated. . . one had one dose of MMR [and] two had two doses of MMR,” according to MDH.

One of the new cases reported over the weekend is an adult, bringing the total number of cases confirmed in adults to two. The remaining 46 cases are “in children ages 0 through 10 years.”

As before, the majority of the cases are within the Somali community. “41 of the cases are Somali Minnesotan,” the MDH reports.

Of the 48 cases, “41 of the cases are Somali Minnesotan.”

MDH officials have previously indicated that the current measles outbreak originated with a foreign traveler but have not identified the country from which the foreign traveler arrived.

The outbreak began in Minnesota’s Somali community. In fact, all of the first 20 cases were confirmed in Somali Minnesotans.

MDH officials have blamed the lack of vaccinations for the outbreak.

“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,” MDH Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said in a statement released on April 14, one day after the first cases of measles were publicly reported.

“The best way to prevent measles is for all children to be fully vaccinated on time. There are two combination vaccines used to prevent measles: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine,” the MDH website states.


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