Measles Incident Command Team

A mask station at Children's Minneapolis's primary care clinic

An incident command team from the Minnesota Department of Health is overseeing a coordinated effort to stop the spread of measles, as the department fights an outbreak that is now the state's worst since 1990.

Shaughnessy said the county's measles cases provide another opportunity to reiterate the need for vaccines. There are three cases in Ramsey County, four in Crow Wing County and two in Le Sueur County. "It's spreading across the state". In the past four weeks, almost 1,600 Somali children have been vaccinated. The confirmed cases are unvaccinated children under the age of 5. Both are now being cared for at home as hospitalization was not required. It urges the recipient to bring their child in as soon as possible.

The highly contagious disease is even more risky because initial symptoms are similar to those of a common cold. A person with measles can pass it to others from four days before their rash appears to four days after it appears.

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The contagious nature of the measles virus is one of the biggest threats health officials face while combating the outbreak. A total of 55 of the cases have come in individuals confirmed to be unvaccinated. So, it becomes increasingly hard to contain the disease.

All but 3 of the cases involve people that were not vaccinated, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. This drastically reduces the chances of getting infected.

A low vaccination rate among Somalis has contributed to the spread of the disease in child care centers. State health officials are now working closely with community leaders to ensure that people are made aware of the vaccination's benefits. Three children died in that outbreak.

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