The measles outbreak in Minnesota is on the rise and the disease has spread to Le Sueur County. The outbreak’s epicenter was Hennepin County where 49 cases of the disease were diagnosed.
The two new cases in Le Sueur County brings the count to 58 people across the state. This is the worst measles outbreak in Minnesota since 1990, when 460 people were infected.
Measles Spreading To Adjacent Regions
Health officials predicted that some cases of measles would crop up in the Le Sueur County. Health officials shared that the two cases in the county were contracted from the four known infected individuals in Crow Wing County. Officials also surmised that this infection spread during an extended family gathering of some kind within the state.
The first Crow Wing County infection was detected two weeks ago when an unvaccinated child visited Hennepin County and contracted the disease. On Friday, May 12, health officials confirmed that the three siblings of the infected child from Crow Wing County also contracted the disease.
The two Le Sueur County measles cases involve children under the age of five. Both are currently being cared for at home as hospitalization was not required. However, state health officials are urging schools to encourage parents to get the necessary vaccinations for their children.
The highly contagious disease is even more dangerous because initial symptoms are similar to those of a common cold. The rash associated with measles develops around four or five days after the person is infected. During this period, an infected child may spread the infection to other unvaccinated children in their vicinity.
Challenges For Containing The Measles Outbreak
The contagious nature of the measles virus is one of the biggest threats health officials face while combating the outbreak. By the time health officials can detect one measles case, many more people may get infected from that individual who may unknowingly infect others. So, it becomes increasingly difficult to contain the disease.
The best method according to the state health department is to get everyone vaccinated against measles. This drastically reduces the chances of getting infected. However, anti-vaccine campaigners have disrupted the efforts of getting every child vaccinated.
These campaigns arose after many of the Somali-Minnesotans refused to get their children vaccinated, fearing it would cause autism in the kids. State health officials are now working closely with community leaders to ensure that people are made aware of the vaccination’s benefits.
Presently, the measles outbreak has led to the hospitalization of 15 infected children due to the seriousness of the symptoms.