Minnesota's measles outbreak has spread to another county

It's now Minnesota's biggest measles outbreak of the last 20 years.

Minnesota's measles outbreak is growing – and it has now spread beyond Hennepin County.

The state Health Department confirmed a case in Stearns County Thursday and said the total number of cases they've diagnosed is up to 29. Apart from the Stearns County case, all of the others have been in Hennepin County. All the patients are five years old or younger.

Another new development Thursday involved vaccinations. Until now all of the cases involved children who were not vaccinated against measles. But when the Health Department added five more children to its tally Thursday it said one of the kids in this year's outbreak was vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella.

The 29 cases make this Minnesota's largest measles outbreak in more than 20 years, surpassing the 26 that were confirmed in 2011. The Health Department's totals show that in most recent years there have been only a handful of measles cases, sometimes none.

Carried by international travelers

Measles used to strike millions of Americans. In 1963 alone more than 3 million people got it and hundreds of them died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. But a vaccine was developed and by 2000 doctors announced the disease was eradicated from the U.S.

The problem is it's still around in other countries. When people who've traveled overseas come back with measles, it can easily spread to others who are not vaccinated. This month the CDC put out measles alerts for those traveling to Germany, Italy, and Belgium.

Outbreak centered in Somali community

At least 25 of the cases in the current outbreak involve Somali Minnesotans. The Health Department was not sure on Thursday about race or ethnicity in the other cases.

Not coincidentally, vaccination rates are lower in Minnesota's Somali community than in the general population – about half the rate, the Star Tribune says.

Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said this month: “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. "

In a more recent statement this week, Ehlinger made no mention of Somali Minnesotans and said: “This is about unvaccinated children, not specific communities.”

Vaccine is the best protection

The Health Department urges Minnesota families to get vaccinations for all children 12 months or older. They say adults who have not had measles and have not been vaccinated should also get the shots, which are administered in two separate doses.

A case of measles starts with symptoms like a fever and runny nose. Then comes a rash that covers the whole body. It's contagious; the germs are spread through the air when people sneeze or cough.

The CDC says two doses of the vaccine are 97 percent effective at preventing measles. One dose is 93 percent effective. There's lots more about measles here and here.

Next Up

CJ Ham

Vikings-Seahawks: 5 things you can count on happening

Can the Vikings finally beat Russell Wilson?

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Residents asked to be on the lookout for at-large suspect in Sauk Rapids

The suspect was last seen near the intersection of Garden Brook Drive Northeast and Strawberry Court Northeast.

Towerside Innovation District

Aquifer energy storage project wins financial backing of Mpls city council

It'll be used to power the Towerside Innovation District near the U of M.

Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 10.02.45 AM

Bomb threat prompts school evacuation in central Minnesota

A search of the building did not find any suspicious items.

Pexels - beer outside patio brewery

Brewery, taproom moving into former Twin Cities newspaper space

Loons Landing officially signed the lease this week.

Vic Richfield auto theft PD - rectangle crop

Police: Car with dog inside stolen from outside Twin Cities liquor store

They're asking people to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

John Hofer - Chisago County Sheriff's Office

Murder charge filed over inmate's death at Chisago Co. Jail

The man suddenly became unresponsive and died while in a holding cell.

reproductive rights caucus

Minnesota DFL lawmakers form Reproductive Freedom Caucus

The move comes as some Republicans explore proposals to limit abortion access.

Flickr - child wearing mask close up - Nenad Stojkovic

Counties without K-12 mask mandate see sharper rise in child COVID cases

That's according to a new study released Friday by the CDC.

Police lights

Bloomington woman dies in crash on southwest Twin Cities highway

The collision happened just south of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival grounds.


MN measles outbreak: 32 cases, spreads to third county

This is the largest measles outbreak since 1990.

The measles outbreak spreads to a 4th Minnesota county

There are now 58 confirmed cases in the state.

Video: Everything you need to know about Minnesota's measles outbreak

What exactly is measles, how can you protect yourself, and why is everyone talking about it?

After weeks of quiet, Minnesota sees another new measles case

It's associated with the 78 previous cases that made up the outbreak.

The measles outbreak is over; here's what we learned

79 people got sick this year; here's what we learned.

Update: 9 measles cases confirmed in Hennepin County

Health officials are working with the community to clear up misinformation about vaccines.

Allina Health is limiting child visits to its hospitals over measles outbreak

More than 40 people have been infected with measles in Minnesota.

As measles cases pass 50, health commissioner wants $5M emergency fund

Health budgets are eating the $3M cost of responding to Minnesota's measles outbreak.