Minnesota Department of Health confirms more measles cases

Officials from the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday that two more cases of measles have been reported, raising the state’s outbreak total to 23.

The announcement came on the same day that state health officials participated in a vaccination awareness forum to encourage the use of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, reports.

A significant portion of the reported measles cases are linked to Minnesota’s declining vaccination rate. In just two years, the state’s overall vaccination ranking has slipped from seventh best in the nation to 20th place.

As of last week, eight of the people infected with the measles were found to have not received the MMR vaccination.

The declining immunization rate is being credited to both apathy and fear that the MMR vaccine is linked to the cause of autism, reports. The latter concern is prevalent among members in the state’s Somali community, who do not vaccinate their children due to this belief. At least seven of the 23 measles infections occurred within the local Solamali community.

These unfounded opinions are exactly what the state’s health department is targeting to stop the outbreak from spreading. Health officials at the vaccination forum acknowledged that they need to do a better job of explaining that vaccines are critically important in the fight against the disease as well as being candid to patients about some of the side effects, reports.