Minnesota's largest measles outbreak in decades is officially over

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health on Aug. 25 declared the state's largest measles outbreak since 1990 officially over.

Seventy-nine people were sickened in the outbreak, which began April 11. Health officials identified the final case July 13. Sixty-four of the 79 reported cases occurred among the Somali Minnesotan community. Immunization rates among this population dipped in recent years due to the spread of misinformation regarding vaccine safety. The outbreak spurred health workers to track down those potentially exposed and improve vaccination adherence among the affected communities. 

"This outbreak showed that preventing disease requires all of us working together," said Ed Ehlinger, MD, the commissioner of the Minnesota health department. "Public health is a community, collective endeavor. It's what we as a society do together to ensure the conditions in which everyone can be healthy."

Measles is a highly communicable virus characterized by fever, runny nose, cough and a rash that spreads all over the body. While no deaths occurred in the Minnesota outbreak, twenty-two people required hospitalization. Two doses of the mumps, measles, rubella vaccine is 97 percent effective at preventing the measles, according to the CDC

More articles on infection control: 
Structured vs. unstructured hand-washing techniques — which is more effective for removing C. diff? 
Top 10 infection control stories, Aug. 21-25 
2 patients contract Legionnaires' at UW Medical Center: 5 things to know


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