January 28, 2015
MDH assisting University, Hennepin County in responding to measles case
Fairview Hospital also playing role in outbreak response
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is assisting the University of Minnesota, Hennepin County Public Health and Fairview Hospital in handling a case of measles diagnosed in a 20-year-old male University student.
MDH officials are working closely with University officials as they notify other students who may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease. Fairview will be contacting staff who may have had contact with the student when he sought treatment at its University of Minnesota facility.
“Measles is an extremely contagious disease, and potentially very serious for those who haven’t been vaccinated,” said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health. “We are going to be watching this situation very closely, and we will be working with officials at the University and Fairview to protect the health of other students, faculty and health care providers.”
Dr. Ehlinger emphasized that the potential risk to the general public is very low, but stressed that people should take proper precautions to protect themselves and their children against the disease. In particular, he called on Minnesota parents to make sure their children have been properly immunized against measles. People who have questions about their immunization status or concerns about their health should contact their health care provider.
MDH officials emphasized that the Minnesota case does not appear to have any connection with the measles outbreak that has been taking place recently in Southern California.
Measles is caused by a virus. Symptoms include rash, accompanied by fever and in some cases cough or runny nose. Symptoms appear about eight to 12 days after a person is exposed to measles. The first symptom is usually fever. The rash usually appears two to three days after the fever begins and lasts five to six days. The disease has become very rare in Minnesota thanks to widespread vaccination.