Seventh measles case reported in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health has reported that there are now seven diagnosed cases of measles in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and that they have set up free clinics to give measles vaccinations.

Three of the cases have involved Somali children who were old enough to receive the measles vaccine but have not, reports. Three other cases involve infants who cannot receive the vaccine because they are too young.

The health department said that the outbreak began with an infant who returned from Kenya last month. They hope that more parents in the Somali community will attempt to get shots after a forum on Saturday that will address concerns about the safety of vaccinations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles is an extremely contagious disease of the respiratory system caused by a virus. Measles causes symptoms like a runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. One in 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection while one in 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two may die from the illness.

Prior to this year's seven reported measles cases, Minnesota had only six reported measles cases in total since 2005.