2 cases of measles confirmed in Minnesota preschool siblings

Two cases of measles have been confirmed in preschool-aged children who are siblings and live in Hennepin County. The Minnesota Department of Health and Hennepin County Public Health are investigating the measles cases.

The two children developed symptoms shortly after returning from a visit to a country where measles is common. The children were not vaccinated and one was hospitalized due to measles complications. 

MDH, Hennepin County Public Health staff, hospital and clinic staff are working to notify people who may have been exposed to the children MDH says the risk to the general public from these cases is low. The children were isolated when symptoms started, so exposures were limited to health care and family settings.

If additional measles cases develop as a result of these cases, they will likely occur between now and July 1.

Measles symptoms

Initial symptoms of measles include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes followed by a rash that typically spreads from the head to the rest of the body. It generally takes eight to 12 days from exposure to someone with measles to develop the first symptom, which is usually fever. 

The measles rash usually appears two to three days after the fever begins. 

Measles can lead to hospitalization and even death. If you have symptoms of measles, call your doctor or clinic and they will let you know if you need to come in for a visit.

How measles spreads

Measles spreads easily by coughing, talking, or being in the same room with someone who has measles. 

Measles vaccine

Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine: the first at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second at 4 to 6 years of age. Children 6 to 12 months should get an early dose of MMR vaccine if they are traveling to a country where measles is common. 

After two doses of the MMR vaccine, about 99% of people will be protected against measles and rubella. But some communities in Minnesota continue to have low MMR vaccination rates.

Vaccination rates for MMR, along with other childhood diseases, declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health officials worry that some children may be more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases than they were two years ago, especially since many people are beginning to travel again.

According to recent MDH data, the percentage of 2-year-olds who had received at least one dose of MMR vaccine by 24 months declined from 81.4% in 2019 to 79.3% in 2021. 

How to find your vaccination record

MDH encourages people to check their records to confirm that they and their children have received the MMR vaccine. Minnesotans can request their vaccination records by visiting https://www.health.state.mn.us/people/immunize/miic/records.html.

Measles in Minnesota

Minnesota has had four cases of measles since a 2017 outbreak. Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but it is still common in other parts of the world. In a typical year, Minnesota sees one to four cases of measles, generally in people who traveled to countries where measles is more common.