20 confirmed cases of measles in Hennepin Co. children, MDH says

There are now 20 confirmed cases of measles in children under five in Hennepin County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

At least 16 of the children are unvaccinated. MDH is still working to determine whether the other four children had received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. All of the confirmed cases are Somali children five years old or younger.

“This is about unvaccinated children, not specific communities,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said in a statement. “There are people of all backgrounds around the state who have chosen not to protect themselves or their children. Often that decision is based on good intentions and inaccurate information. It’s the responsibility of all of us who care about the health of Minnesota children to make sure people have accurate information and take action to protect their families and their communities.”

Measles is high contagious. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by a large rash. Health officials say the best protection against the virus is getting vaccinated.

The last major measles outbreak in Minnesota occurred in 1990 – with over 450 cases and three deaths.