Minnesota measles outbreak up to 50 cases — 34 treated at Minnesota Children's

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The Minnesota Department of Health has reported 50 measles cases related to an ongoing outbreak primarily affecting the Twin Cities. Forty-seven of the cases occurred among children under 17 years old, and 34 patients have been treated at Children's Minnesota in Minneapolis, according to NBC News.

Forty-five of the reported cases have occurred among the Somali Minnesotan community, which has been targeted by supporters of the anti-vaccine movement.

"One of the challenges we face is all of the misinformation that has been targeted at the Somali community," said Kris Ehresmann, BSN, director of infectious disease control for the state health department, according to NBC News. "Starting in 2008, when there was an observation that there was disproportionate number of Somali kids that were participating in Minnesota public schools special education services and right at that point the anti-vaccine folks started targeting the community."

In 2008, the vaccination rate was more than 90 percent among Somali Minnesotans. That number has since dropped to 41 percent, according to Ms. Ehresmann. However, the recent outbreak has driven more members of this community to seek immunization with the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine.

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Patsy Stinchfield, RN, the senior director of infection control at Minnesota Children's, told NBC News she's experienced a measles outbreak before, citing the 1990 measles epidemic that infected 100,000 people across the U.S.

"Here in Minnesota we had 460 cases," Ms. Stinchfield told NBC News. "That was my first year working here and we had three children die in Minnesota from measles and two of them died right here at our hospital."

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease characterized by symptoms such as fever runny nose, cough and a red rash that covers the body. Of the 34 patients treated for measles at Minnesota Children's, most have been sent home after being treated for high fevers, dehydration and low blood oxygen caused by pneumonia.

More articles on infection control: 
Poor hand hygiene, other safety errors identified at NJ clinic where 40 were infected 
New BMC primary care program for hepatitis C treatment shows promise 
2 Las Vegas schools closed amid possible norovirus outbreak

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