News release: Health officials confirm measles in Hennepin County child

News Release
August 7, 2018

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Health officials confirm measles in Hennepin County child

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is working closely with local public health agencies and health care providers to investigate a case of measles in a child who lives in Hennepin County.

The 5-year-old child became ill in early August shortly after returning from international travel to a region where measles is common. The child was likely infectious from July 30 through Aug. 7. Local public health staff, as well as clinic and hospital staff where the child was treated, are notifying people who may have been exposed in specific settings. The child was not vaccinated against measles and was hospitalized.

MDH has notified health care providers in the state to be alert for patients with signs or symptoms of measles. If you see symptoms of measles, call your doctor or clinic right away and they will let you know if you need to come in for a visit. If additional cases were to develop as a result of this case, they would likely occur between now and Aug. 28 health officials said.

Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but it is still common in other parts of the world. In a typical year, Minnesota sees one to four cases of measles, typically in people who  traveled to countries where measles is more common.

Last year, Minnesota experienced its largest measles outbreak since 1990, with 75 cases identified between April and August 2017. Of those cases, 21 were hospitalized and 91 percent were not vaccinated.

“Stopping the 2017 measles outbreak did not eliminate our risk for another outbreak,” said MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann. “We still have pockets of our population with low vaccination rates, so as long as there is measles somewhere in the world, the risk to Minnesota remains. That’s why it is so important to make sure you and your family are vaccinated.”

Thousands of children received the MMR vaccine during the 2017 outbreak. Ehresmann noted that this spike in vaccinations helped, but achieving and maintaining high vaccination rates in all Minnesota communities is an ongoing effort.

Measles is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes followed by a rash that typically spreads from the head to the rest of the body. It generally takes 8 to 12 days from exposure to the first symptom, which is usually fever. The measles rash usually appears two to three days after the fever begins.

Measles is highly contagious and spreads easily by coughing, sneezing or even being in the same room with someone who has measles.

The best way to prevent measles is through vaccination. Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine: The first at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second at 4 to 6 years of age. Children 6 to 12 months should get an early dose of MMR vaccine if they are traveling to a country where measles is common. For all ages, it is important to talk to your doctor if you are going to be traveling to another country. Your doctor can check to make sure you and your family are up to date on your immunizations and make sure there are no other immunizations you need.

MDH encourages people to check their records to confirm that they and their children have received the MMR vaccine. Many Minnesotans can request their vaccination records by visiting Immunization Records Requests.

For more information, see the MDH measles website.


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications