Health Dept. confirms measles in Hennepin County child

The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed a case of measles in a child in Hennepin County. 

The child was likely infectious from July 30 through Aug. 7, according to health officials, meaning additional cases would likely develop between now and Aug. 28. Health officials are currently notifying people who may have been exposed.

This is the first confirmed case of measles since last year's outbreak, where 75 cases were reported between April and August. It was the state’s largest measles outbreak since 1991. Ninety-one percent of the cases involved patients who were unvaccinated. 

The department of health said the 5-year-old became ill after a trip to Africa, once again prompting concerns over popular vaccination misconceptions among the Somali-American community.

"I think it's a combination of misinformation and lack of trust," said Kris Ehresmann with MDH. "This child and their family had traveled internationally, visiting an area where measles was common. The child was not vaccinated and came back with measles."

Ehresmann said it's been challenging to prevent further cases.

"Even with imams and leaders, we still have parents who are not vaccinated...this child could have been vaccinated during the outbreak and wasn't," she said.

However, Ehresmann said they caught this case early on.

"Last year, we had two cases identified and then we learned that there was an earlier case that had never come to detection through the healthcare system and so there was plenty of spread. In this case, we found out about this case as soon as it happened, it was related to travel and there weren't any earlier exposures."

Measles, which is potentially deadly, is highly contagious as you can get it simply by being in the same room with someone who has it.