Department of Health confirms 2 measles cases

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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By Estelle Timar-Wilcox, Minnesota Public Radio News

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has identified two cases of measles in the state.

Two siblings in the Twin Cities metro area have confirmed cases. The first case was in a one-year-old who had recently traveled out of the country and developed symptoms after returning. The child’s sibling later tested positive, too. Both children are unvaccinated.

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The MDH is working to identify anyone who was exposed. Officials say the risk to the public is low.

Jayne Griffith is a senior epidemiologist at the MDH.

“This is concerning because measles is a very serious disease, and it’s a vaccine preventable disease,” said MDH senior epidemiologist Jayne Griffith.

Griffith said 20-30 percent of measles cases end up being hospitalized.

Vaccination rates have declined in the past few years, both in Minnesota and nationally.

Griffith recommended that parents make sure their kids are up to date on their measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, especially if they plan to travel out of the country. She said the vaccine is very effective — one dose provides about 93 percent protection, and two doses provides about 97 percent protection.

“It is the best way to protect yourself or your family from getting measles,” Griffith said.
In a typical year, Minnesota sees between one and four cases of measles, Griffith said. Last year, there were 22. The two current cases are the first of the year.