GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - There have been more cases of measles in Minnesota the past two months than the entire country had all last year.
The Minnesota Department of Health has now confirmed 75 cases of the measles, three in adults and 72 cases in kids between 0 and 17. Here is a breakdown of the cases:
- 66 in Hennepin County
- 3 in Ramsey County
- 4 in Crow Wing County
- 2 in Le Sueur County
- 69 confirmed to be unvaccinated
- 3 had 1 dose of MMR
- 3 had 2 doses of MMR
- 72 in children (ages 0-17 years)
- 3 cases in adults
- 63 are Somali Minnesotan
- 9 are White/Non-Hispanic
- 3 are White/Hispanic
Religious leaders are stepping up efforts with health care workers to control Minnesota's measles outbreak which has hit the Somali community the hardest.
Children's Minnesota's Elham Ashkar says imams in their position of power can help spread the word that vaccination is in the best interest of the community. False information suggesting the measles vaccine can cause autism has driven down immunization rates in the Somali community.
Minnesota Public Radio says Children's Minnesota has given Somali community leaders pictures of some of the children in the hospital suffering from measles, hoping they will provide a powerful incentive to vaccinate.
With the recent surge of cases, health officials are urging children 12 months and older, who have not received an MMR vaccine, to get one immediately. Adults born in 1957 or later, who have not been vaccinated, should also get the vaccine as soon as possible.
Children in counties affected by the measles outbreak who have had one dose of the MMR vaccine should get a second as soon as possible as long as they are 12 months and older and received their first dose at least 28 days ago.
The MDH also recommends all Somali Minnesotan children statewide should have both doses of the MMR vaccine, as long as they meet the age and time requirements between doses.
Typically, the second dose of MMR is given between the ages of 4 to 6, but health care providers say the accelerated vaccine schedule is necessary given the outbreak.
Parents should contact their children's health care provider and specifically tell them the child needs the MMR vaccine, to help avoid longer wait times.
Health officials warn that measles is very contagious in those without vaccinations and can lead to serious hospitalization and even death.
Measles symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by a rash that spreads from their head to the rest of the body. Measles can spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. Health officials say it's possible to get the measles, just by being in the same room as someone who has it.
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