MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has confirmed that an additional case of measles has prolonged the outbreak in Minnesota.
The newest case is an unvaccinated white male residing in Hennepin County. He likely contracted the disease by frequenting locations which the most recent prior case also frequented, according to an MDH press release.
Health officials need to see 42 consecutive days without any new cases before they will declare this outbreak of measles over.
“While there’s been some recent speculation that the outbreak was nearing its end, we’ve been cautious about making any predictions,” MDH’s Director of Infectious Diseases Kristen Ehresmann said in the department’s press release. “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.”
There have now been 79 recorded cases of measles in this outbreak. Of these, 71 had not received any vaccinations, while three had had one dose of the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccination, and two had had two doses. Another two cases still have an unconfirmed vaccination history.
The vast majority of the cases have originated in Hennepin County and in Minnesota’s Somali community. Seventy cases have occurred in Hennepin County, with further cases in Ramsey, Crow Wing, and Le Sueur Counties. The Somali community has seen 64 cases of measles during this outbreak.
“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,” Ehresmann said.
MDH has asked the newest case to stay home while he remains potentially infectious. The department also stated that he has visited several public areas in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Carver Counties while infectious. MDH is in the process of following up with those counties regarding the potential exposure sites.