State health officials hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's measles outbreak

"Stopping the 2017 outbreak did not eliminate our risk for another outbreak"

Laura Oakes
August 07, 2018 - 5:31 pm

A year after the state's biggest measles outbreak since 1991, the Minnesota Department of Health is investigating another case of the disease in the Minneapolis area.

Health department officials are working to notify those who may have been in contact with a 5-year old unvaccinated child who contracted measles while traveling overseas. Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann says they're hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's outbreak, which saw 75 cases, 21 of which required hospitalization.

"It's the kind of thing where if you come in to a room after someone with measles was there and has already left, you could still develop measles. It's that infectious," says Ehresmann.

Ehresmann says despite their best efforts to combat the problem, there are still pockets of the population resistant to vaccinations.

"We are doing community outreach through faith leaders, medical providers and outreach workers to target messages to those communities where there is concern or there is reluctance to vaccinate," says Ehresmann.

Thousands of children received the MMR vaccine during last year's outbreak. Ehresmann says that helped, but she says maintaining high vaccination rates is an ongoing effort.