MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – State health officials say a 5-year-old child in the Twin Cities was hospitalized with measles and may have been a risk to others over the past week.
The Minnesota Department of Health says the child lives in Hennepin County and became ill earlier this month after returning from a country where the disease is common.
Public health officials are now reaching out to people who might have been exposed to the virus.
The symptoms of measles include high fever, cough, runny nose, and a large rash. It generally takes between eight to 12 days for symptoms to show.
Anyone showing symptoms should seek medical help. The disease is highly contagious.
Health officials say the best way to protect against measles is vaccination. The child who became infected with it this month was not vaccinated.
Last year, Minnesota experienced its biggest measles outbreak in over 20 years.
Over a period of several months, some 79 cases were identified, with most of them affecting the state’s Somali community.
In response, state health officials worked with the community to combat suspicions surrounding vaccines, which some believed were linked to autism, despite a lack of evidence.
Kris Ehresmann, the director of the health department’s infectious disease division, says it’s important for parents to make sure everyone in the family is vaccinated.
“We still have pockets of our population with low vaccination rates, so as long as there is measles somewhere in the world, the risk to Minnesota remains,” she said, in a statement.
Children should receive two doses of vaccination: one between 12 to 15 months, and another between the ages of 4 and 6.
Officials urge people to make sure they’ve had the vaccine before traveling to a country where the disease is common.