Minnesota measles outbreak reaches 17

Health officials in Minnesota reported three more cases of measles on Wednesday, increasing the total number to 17 since February.

Currently, there are 10 patients who have been hospitalized, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, reports. Fourteen of the cases have been linked to an unvaccinated child who became infected during a family trip to Kenya.

Of the 17 cases, seven of them are from the local Somali community, a group that state health officials say has an unfounded opinion that the MMR vaccine is the source behind a trend of autism among Somali youth, reports.  

"There are studies underway why we have a large number of Somali children in the state of Minnesota with autism. We do not know that. But we know that it is not the vaccine that is causing the autism," Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed, a family medicine doctor at Axis Medical Center, said, according to

To counter this misbelief, local health experts have been waging an “information campaign” within the Somali community and reporting some positive results, according to

These 17 reported cases come in addition to a measles outbreak recently experienced in Utah, where, as of Monday, there have been four confirmed cases as well as six more suspected instances of the highly contagious and infectious disease.