MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Second measles outbreak hits Minnesota

Minnesota state health officials have confirmed that two young children in Dakota County, Minn., are hospitalized, with one in critical condition, in the second outbreak of measles in the state this year.
A one-year-old in critical condition fell ill in early August after a trip to Kenya and a 15-month-old became ill after visiting the family of the first child, the Star Tribune reports. Health officials said that neither child had been vaccinated.
Earlier this year, Minnesota reported the largest outbreaks of measles in the country, with 23 cases reported in Hennepin County, Minn., between February and April. Twenty-one of them were linked to an unvaccinated child who had also returned from Kenya.
"Further cases are really just another plane flight away," Dr. Aaron DeVries, an infectious disease specialist at the Health Department, said, according to the Star Tribune. "That's why it's so important, particularly for young children, to make sure that they're vaccinated."
While DeVries said there appears to be no direct connections between the new cases and the earlier outbreak, both cases occurred in the Twin Cities' Somali community.
Health officials have fanned out to track down anyone who might have been exposed to the children while they were infectious. Health officials have also asked clinics to be on alert for signs of the disease, which includes fever, cough, runny nose, loss of appetite, watery eyes and a distinctive rash that begins at the hairline and moves down the face and body.
"Contrary to misinformation that may still be circulating, the measles vaccine is safe and effective," Kris Ehresmann, who heads the infectious disease and vaccine program at the Health Department, said, according to the Star Tribune. "Without it, the risk of disease is real."