Minnesota measles outbreak tops 40 cases, thousands exposed

The Minnesota Department of Health increased the case count related to a recent measles outbreak to 44 Friday. The updated number represents a 10 case increase from Monday's total.

Among the identified cases, 42 have occurred in unvaccinated individuals and two cases have occurred in individuals who've had two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. All but one of the cases have occurred among children under 10 years of age.

Minnesota health officials estimate more than 2,500 people have been exposed to the highly contagious, possibly lethal, virus characterized by high fever and a total-body rash.

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"Once measles begins to spread in unvaccinated populations, it can be very difficult to stop," said Kris Ehresmann, BSN, director of infectious disease control for the state health department, according to the Pioneer Press. "We would not be surprised if we saw additional cases in other parts of the state where there are clusters of unvaccinated people before this is over."

Thus far, the Somali Minnesotan community in Hennepin County has been hit hardest by the outbreak. Thirty-eight of the 44 cases involved members of the Somali community. Immunization rates have dipped among the Somalian community in recent years due to fears regarding vaccine safety spurred by erroneous claims purporting a link between vaccines and autism.

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

More articles on infection control: 
Alabama health department investigates whooping cough outbreak 
Researchers create dye molecules to visually identify influenza
Flu activity continues downtrend, 10 pediatric flu deaths reported

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