Minnesota Department of Health warns parents after sharp uptick in measles cases

An MMR and VAR vaccine ready for a pediatric vaccination at Kaiser Permanente East Medical offices in Denver. February 03, 2015 Denver, CO (Getty Images)

The Minnesota Department of Health is warning parents to make sure their kids are up-to-date on their immunizations, as the state sees a sharp uptick in measles cases.

In a statement on Thursday, the state says it is investigating 13 cases of measles in Minnesota between June and September. Officials say the children were all unvaccinated and many had traveled out of the country to an area with high transmission of measles.

All of the cases are in the Twin Cities metro and involved children as young as two up to teenagers. Seven children were hospitalized for treatment.

Before now, state records show there have been no reported measles cases in Minnesota over the previous three years and only two reported cases since 2018. In 2017, Minnesota experienced a large spike in cases, with 75 reported patients

The state says that over the pandemic immunization rates shrank by 3 percent, falling below the key threshold of 90 percent. State health officials say 90 percent is the needed rate to prevent a large outbreak.

Part of the drop, officials believe, is attributed to parents missing regular checkups during the pandemic.

Signs of measles include high fever, a cough, runny nose, and watery eyes, followed by a rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body.

It typically takes 8 to 12 days from exposure to the first symptoms.