Department of Health Says New Case of Measles Diagnosed

July 13, 2017 01:39 PM

After numbers held steady for nearly a month, the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday confirmed an additional case of measles associated with the current outbreak.

The new case was diagnosed in an unvaccinated, white adult who resides in Hennepin County. A release from the MDH said he was likely exposed to measles at locations frequented by the last identified case.

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The release stated several additional unvaccinated individuals were exposed to the disease, so there is the potential more cases could arise.

According to numbers on the MDH website, the new case brings the total in the current outbreak - which has been ongoing since late March - to 79.

Seventy of those cases have been diagnosed in Hennepin County, four in Crow Wing County, three in Ramsey County and two in Le Sueur County.

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Seventy-one of those cases have been diagnosed in individuals confirmed to be unvaccinated; three had one dose of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine, three had two doses of the vaccine and two cases occurred in individuals whose vaccination status is listed as unknown/pending.

Seventy-four of the cases have occurred in children between the ages of 0 and 17. Five of the cases have occurred in adults.

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Sixty-four of the cases have occurred in the Somali Minnesotan community, 11 have occurred in those whose race/ethnicity is listed as White/Non-Hispanic, three have occurred in those whose race/ethnicity is listed as White/Hispanic and one has occurred in an individual whose race/ethnicity is listed as Black/Non-Hispanic.

Because numbers had held steady, there were reports state health officials could call an end to the outbreak if no new cases arose by the end of the month.

RELATED: Number of Measles Cases in State Rises By 1

Two incubation periods must pass without any new cases before an outbreak can be declared at an end.

"While there's been some recent speculation that the outbreak was nearing its end, we've been cautious about making any predictions," Kristen Ehresmann, the director of infectious disease for MDH, said in a statement.

"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."

The current outbreak remains the worst in Minnesota since 1990 when 460 cases were diagnosed, leading to three fatalities.

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Frank Rajkowski

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