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Health officials combating Minnesota's 1st measles case of the year

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A 19-month-old child has been diagnosed with measles in Hennepin County – the first case of the disease confirmed in the state this year, the Star Tribune reports.

Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann says the Hennepin County child caught the measles while traveling internationally. If anybody was exposed to the disease by the child, a breakout will likely emerge between now and May 12, Ehresmann says.

The Star Tribune says health agencies are also offering immune globulin with antibodies against the virus to anyone who might have been exposed in the case of the Hennepin County child.

The measles diagnosis in the Hennepin County child comes amid a breakout of the disease around the country. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in the first four months of the 2014, 129 cases and 13 outbreaks of measles have been reported, the highest amount in the same time period in the past 18 years. The CDC says the highest incidence of measles is in California, where 58 cases have been confirmed.

The CDC says measles is caused by a virus and is highly contagious. The disease causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with it also gets an ear infection, the CDC says, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia.

The agency also notes that "for every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die."

The CDC gives recommendations for vaccination procedures on its website. Widespread use of the measles vaccine has led to a 99 percent-plus reduction in cases of the disease in the U.S., the agency says.

Vaccination is recommended for people traveling to the Philippines, where 20,000 suspected measles have been reported from January through March this year, the CDC says.

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