News release: Health officials warn of measles case in southeastern Minnesota traveler

News Release
April 25, 2018

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Health officials warn of measles case in southeastern Minnesota traveler

People in retail locations in Albert Lea, Winona may have been exposed

The Minnesota Department of Health together with local public health departments in Freeborn and Winona counties are warning people about recent potential exposure to confirmed measles at two locations in southeastern Minnesota.

The warning comes after MDH learned April 23 that a non-Minnesota resident with confirmed measles traveled through Minnesota from another state and may have exposed individuals at two separate locations on different days and times:

  • On April 13, at a McDonald’s restaurant, 172 Main St., Winona, between 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • On April 16, at the Freeborn County Co-op gas station, 1840 Margaretha Ave., Albert Lea, between 9:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

If you were at either of these locations at these specific times, health officials say you should watch for symptoms of measles and check your vaccination status. Measles, which can be prevented with a vaccine, is a highly infectious rash illness. Subsequent cases from these exposures would be expected to occur between April 23 and May 7.

State and local health officials are contacting owners of the two locations to provide recommendations for employees. “If someone has been exposed and has signs consistent with measles, it is important that they stay isolated from others to prevent spreading the disease and call their health care provider,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for MDH.

Measles symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes and a rash. It can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area. Additional information about measles can be found on the MDH Measles website.

“If you are diagnosed with measles, it is important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and community,” Ehresmann said.

Health care providers should isolate suspected measles patients and immediately report suspected cases to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The Minnesota Department of Health advises people to check their immunization records or consult with their health care provider if they visited either of the listed Minnesota locations during the specified dates and times, and are unsure whether they are protected through vaccination or natural immunity.  

Most people born before 1957 have had measles disease and are considered immune. Most adults and children born in 1957 or later are protected against measles through immunization. If you are not fully vaccinated, getting the MMR vaccine can protect you against measles in future situations but will not prevent measles if you were exposed on April 13 or 16.  

Though Minnesota has not confirmed any measles cases so far in 2018, measles exposures can occur at any time and at any place. Measles cases and outbreaks have been reported in multiple states so far in 2018, and because of international and domestic travel, the risk of exposure is always present.

If you are not sure if you have had one or more measles shots, contact your doctor or clinic. You can also request your immunization record from the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) by calling 651-201-3980 or visiting MIIC Immunization Record Requests.

-MDH-


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
651-201-4993
doug.schultz@state.mn.us