The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has confirmed an additional case of measles associated with an outbreak that has been occurring primarily in Hennepin County since late March. The newest case is an unvaccinated, white adult who lives in Hennepin County and was likely exposed to measles at locations frequented by the last identified case.
The latest case visited several public locations in Hennepin, Ramsey and Carver Counties while infectious. MDH is working with those counties to follow up on as many exposures as possible from this most recent case.
Most Minnesotans – more than 90 percent – can't get sick from measles either because they have been vaccinated or have had the disease. But people who are unvaccinated are at risk for measles. Anyone who develops the symptoms of measles – cough, runny nose, fever and rash – should contact their health care provider immediately.
MDH today alerted health care providers to continue to be watchful for measles.
The newest case has been asked to stay home while potentially infectious. Several additional unvaccinated people who were exposed to this case have been identified, so there is the potential for more cases to develop, according to Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for MDH.
The latest case brings the total number of measles cases in the outbreak to 79. Health officials continuously monitor for measles and will need to see a 42-day period without additional cases before declaring the outbreak over.
“While there's been some recent speculation that the outbreak was nearing its end, we've been cautious about making any predictions,” Ehresmann said. “When you're dealing with a disease that can spread as easily as measles, you need to keep your guard up until the very end of the possible timeframe when people could get sick. This latest case is unfortunate, but we remain optimistic that we’re heading in the right direction thanks to the public health measures we've taken in partnership with local public health, the affected individuals and communities.”