ST. PAUL, Minn. – After 68 cases of measles within Minnesota, and a great deal of hysteria, the outbreak may finally be letting up health officials say.
State health officials have reported that there has been no new reported cases of the measles virus in the past thirteen days within Minnesota. The disease will officially be declared over after 21 days with no new cases, and the recent lull seems to be a promising sign.
However, health officials are still cautious, especially regarding outreach to the Somali community, who have been especially hard hit by the recent outbreak. Alpha News reported that the measles epidemic currently taking place in Somalia, may have played a role in the initial outbreak of cases. Indeed, 58 of Minnesota’s measles cases are amongst the state’s Somali population. Health officials worry that the gatherings surrounding the month of Ramadan could help spread the disease if the disease remains dormant within members of the population.
Patsy Stinchfield, Infectious Disease Coordinator at the Children’s Health Network, told the Pioneer Press that her group will “continue to partner with and provide faith leaders messages to take to Somali Minnesotans throughout Ramadan.”
Health officials also expressed concerns when it came to summer day care programs, which may not have the same vaccination standards as schools. A recent report done by the Department of Health determined that 223 of 1,400 centers have more than five percent of their student population unvaccinated and without a proper exemption.
Kris Ehresmann, Minnesota’s infectious disease director, noted that summer camps present a significant difficulty when it comes to disseminating information useful to parents in terms of preventing their children from contracting measles. Regardless, health officials have stated that with school getting out the chance of the disease spreading quickly has been greatly reduced, as children will no longer be in contact with each other and thus less likely to spread the disease.