Minnesota hospitals sound alarm over measles cases, vaccination rates

If vaccination rates don't increase in Minnesota, our state could see an outbreak of a dangerous and serious infection.

That's the message from officials at Children's Minnesota regarding the measles virus.

Recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show a spike in cases in areas across the country.

Minnesota has had three confirmed cases so far this year. Last year, there were none. There are currently no active cases in the state.

The MMR vaccine is extremely effective and is the best way to prevent getting the virus, but right now, the Twin Cities is hovering around a 79% vaccination rate.

In order to achieve community immunity, Children's Minnesota Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Gigi Chawla says that number should be at 85% or higher.

"Measles is a spring virus and we expect, with the rates of MMR vaccination in the metro area and in the state of Minnesota, that we could easily see another outbreak," said Dr. Chawla. 

The virus presents itself with fever, a dry cough and a classic red rash. Those most at risk are unvaccinated children under the age of five.