20 now infected in Minnesota measles outbreak

Brian Zimmerman - Print  | 

The Minnesota Health Department increased the number of measles cases associated with an ongoing outbreak to 20 on Monday, marking a nine-case uptick since the department's April 19 count.

All cases have occurred in children under five years old who are in the Somali Minnesotan community in Hennepin County. Sixteen of the children were unvaccinated — immunization status for the other four children has not yet been confirmed. One of the newly confirmed cases has been identified in an infant under 12 months old, according to a report from the Star Tribune.

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State health officials are expecting to see more cases and have asked children and parents who may have been exposed to the virus to self-quarantine at home as symptoms can take as long as three weeks to manifest, according to the Star Tribune. The source of the outbreak remains unknown, though cases identified in the U.S. are typically related to international travel, as measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease characterized by symptoms such as fever runny nose, cough and a red rash that covers the body. It can be fatal.

Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is 97 percent effective at preventing the measles, according to the CDC.

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