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Health Watch: Worst Measles Outbreak Hits Minnesota

First Posted: May 12, 2017 05:30 AM EDT
Behind Minnesota's Worst Measles Outbreak In Nearly 30 Years
Most Somali-American children living in Minnesota are affected by measles virus.
(Photo : CBS This Morning/YouTube screenshot)

Minnesota has been hit by measles with about 50 confirmed cases in the last four weeks. The outbreak is considered the worst in almost 30 years.

Those who had measles were mostly unvaccinated Somali-American children living in the said state. They are from the Somali community of Hennepin County and come from a state with a refugee acceptance rate, according to The Washington Times.

The historic measles outbreak began about a month ago, according to Patsy Stinchfield, the director for infection control at Children's Minnesota. He further said they have gone zero days without having a new case. He added the children are miserable and have IV's and coughs. Some of them have pneumonia.

Newsmax reported that two siblings named Mahat Issa, 3, and Maida, 2, acquired measles and admitted to Minnesota Children Hospital. Their mother said that they were not eating and not drinking. They also had the fever. These conditions led them to be hospitalized. The good news is that they are now in good condition.

Experts believed that those without measles vaccine could have 90 percent of acquiring the said virus. Stinchfield said that one in a thousand children who had measles could acquire encephalitis or infection in the brain. He added that could have permanent brain damage or have blindness or deafness. He described it as a very serious disease.

In 1990, there were about 100,000 cases in the U.S. Stinchfield said that in Minnesota, they had 460 cases. He further said that they had three children died in Minnesota from measles and two of them died at their hospital. It is reported that over 90 percent of people in the Somali immigrant community were vaccinated against measles in 2008. On the other hand, as of this time, there is only 41 percent who are vaccinated.

Measles is an airborne disease and highly contagious triggered by the measles virus. Its symptoms include a cough, fever, runny nose and inflamed eyes. These could develop 10 to 12 days after exposure and could last 7 to 10 days. Its complications might be inflammation of the brain, diarrhea, blindness and pneumonia, among others. It is recommended that children must be vaccinated against measles. 

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