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Minn. Health Officials Investigate Infant Measles

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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating a case of measles in an infant who lives in Minneapolis.

Officials say the child was too young to be vaccinated for measles.

The infant became ill in late February and was likely infectious from Feb. 22 through March 2. The child was hospitalized and is recovering.

Because the child’s family recently moved from Chicago and spent time in Indiana, health officials say the child could have been exposed to measles in Illinois, Indiana or Minnesota.

“We do know Illinois did have a case of the measles since January, so there is a possibility there may have been something there, but at this point, we don’t know what the source of the case is,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases for the Minnesota Department of Health.

Officials say the risk to the public from infection in this case is low, because of high vaccination rates for measles in Minnesota. Right now, an estimated 98 percent of school age children in Minnesota have the vaccine.

“But if those rates drop, measles could regain its foothold and we can see many more diseases,” said Ehresmann.

She warns of the importance of vaccinations because the disease is highly contagious and
possibly deadly, spread through the air.

“I could be in an examination room and then leave the room, you could come in 10 minutes later, and breathe that air and develop measles,” said Ehresmann.

Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, watery eyes and a rash.

The Department of Health says there have been six cases of measles in Minnesota in the past 5 years, and approximately 20 cases since 1997, according to department records. It says the Measles Mumps Rubella or MMR vaccine should be given in two stages, with the first dose at 15 months, and the second between four to six years of age.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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