By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
As of Monday, 44 cases of measles have been confirmed in the state of Minnesota.
Of those, 42 cases were located in Hennepin County, while Ramsey and Crow Wing Counties each had one case apiece.
One adult case is reported in the numbers, while 43 cases are in patients ranging in ages 0 to 5.
Houston County Public Health director Mary Marchel wanted to use the recent outbreak as a reason to remind people that vaccination is the the safest way to prevent this disease.
“Measles is a rare disease in Minnesota, and the United States,” Marchel said. “It is more common in other parts of the world.”
The director points to vaccination as the number one reason for that.
In addition to vaccination, public health officials encourage people to avoid coming into contact with individuals who have symptoms of the disease.
In Houston County, 87.6 percent of the population entering kindergarten have received a vaccination for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella).
“It would be ideal to be at 100%,” Marchel said. “I know that the argument against vaccination is that it can lead to autism, but science says it’s not the vaccine. It is found to be genetics, environmental exposures, things the patient is exposed to during pregnancy and premature birth are all greater risks for autism.”
Of the 34 cases, 32 were confirmed to be unvaccinated.
One case had two doses of MMR and one is pending further investigation.
First outbreak in MN
in over five years
These are the first reported cases of the disease to hit the land of 10,000 lakes since 2011 when 26 cases were reported.
Common symptoms of the disease are rash, fever, cough or runny nose and/or watery/mattering eyes.
Symptoms commonly appear eight to 12 days after the person is exposed.
The first symptom is usually fever.
The rash commonly will appear two to three days after the initial fever.
Many people with measles have complications like diarrhea, ear infection, pneumonia and acute encephalitis.
Complications are more common in children under five years old and adults older than 20.
Measles can be especially severe in persons whose immune systems are weak.
You cannot get measles more than once, because after you have had it, you are immune.
A person with measles can pass it to others from four days before their rash appears to four days after it appears.
Measles can be a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death.
More information can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/ search “Measles.”