MINNEAPOLIS- The Minnesota Department of Health announced the measles outbreak that affected Minnesota has finally ended.
Starting in March, the outbreak had around 79 confirmed cases by mid-July. Most of those who contracted the disease were not vaccinated though three of the people had received a single vaccination, while two had received both Mumps Measles Rubella (MMR) vaccinations. While the vast majority of cases were concentrated in Hennepin County, cases also appeared in Ramsey, Crow Wing, Carver, and Le Sueur counties. The outbreak was the largest of its kind in Minnesota since 1990.
The infection hit the Somali community especially hard, where anti-vaccine sentiments had a made the community especially susceptible. It was reported earlier that 58 of the measles cases, more than 70 percent of the total, were amongst the state’s Somali population, this included many young children. There was a possible connection between the current measles outbreak in Somalia and the outbreak in Minnesota, by looking at information from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Minnesota Department of Health recorded that 1,968 kindergarteners were not vaccinated for measles simply because their parents didn’t want them to receive a vaccination (independent from religious and medical reasons). The outbreak highlighted the severe lack of vaccinations within daycares with a report done by the Department of Health determining that 223 of 1,400 centers have more than five percent of their student population who have not been vaccinated nor received a proper exemption.
The outbreak lead to legislative changes, making vaccination requirements at schools stricter in a bipartisan bill from Rep. Mike Freiburg (D-Golden Valley) and Rep. Mark Uglem (R-Champlin). Freiburg indicated that the bill addressed the particular problem of “misinformation which has contributed to the current outbreak of measles in Minnesota.” The bill held that a “child may be prohibited from attending school or the child care facility during an outbreak of the disease for which the child has not been immunized.”
The Minnesota Department of Health required at least 42 consecutive days transpire prior to declaring the outbreak finally over. Throughout the summer, there were multiple times when the health officials thought the outbreak was close to over, then a new case would appear. As stated in a press release it is thought that the last person to get the measles virus, contracted the disease by frequenting places that those who were infected had been. As of today though, as no new cases have been reported, the measles outbreak seems to be officially over.