Measles infects 8 unvaccinated children in Minnesota outbreak

Eight children between 1 and 4 years old in Minnesota have measles, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed Friday.

All eight affected children had not been vaccinated against measles, which is a highly communicable virus that spreads through the air via coughs and sneezes. Measles was declared as eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 thanks to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. However, sporadic cases still pop up in the U.S., usually due to international travel.

All but one of the infected children are Somali Minnesotans, which has low immunization rates in part because of misinformation about risks associated with vaccines, according to the MDH.

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"Unfortunately, the Minnesota Somali community has been targeted with misinformation about vaccine risks," said Ed Ehlinger, MD, the state's health commissioner. "We're partnering with Somali community leaders and healthcare providers to counteract that misinformation. We want as many Minnesotans as possible to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated."

Health officials are still determining how this outbreak started. All but one of the children have common contact, and six have been hospitalized, according to MDH.

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