MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota now has it’s 79th measles case, diagnosed about a couple weeks before the Minnesota Department of Health was set to declare the outbreak over.
MDH officials say the latest patient is “an unvaccinated, white adult who lives in Hennepin County and was likely exposed to measles at locations frequented by the last identified case.”
The man is said to have visited many public locations in Carver, Hennepin and Ramsey counties while he was infectious.
MDH says those counties are working with them to find as many people who were exposed.
They have already contacted a number of unvaccinated people who were in contact with the man.
Kristen Ehresmann, MDH’s director of infectious disease, says more cases are possible due to these exposures.
“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.
Measles symptoms include coughing, runny nose, rash and fever. Anyone who has these symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention, and anyone who has not received the MMR vaccine is encouraged to get it.
Ninety percent of people in the state are not at risk of contracting the highly-contagious infection because they have been vaccinated or have had it before.
Sixty-five of the state’s 79 cases of measles involve Somali Minnesotans. Community leaders and health experts are working with the community to combat a suspicion of vaccines, which some believe are linked to autism — despite no evidence of the connection.
The HBO show “Last Week Tonight” covered the state’s outbreak in an episode last month. Host John Oliver said the number of cases in Minnesota’s outbreak is larger than the total amount of cases last year in the entire country, which was 70.