Minnesota state health officials have reported a third travel-related case of measles in the state in less than six weeks, prompting officials to urge Minnesotans to make sure they and their families are up-to-date on their measles vaccinations before they travel.
Large measles outbreaks are occurring in several areas around the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America. Anyone who travels to these areas who is not fully vaccinated with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is at high risk for contracting measles.
“As we’ve said before, measles, like a number of other vaccine-preventable diseases, is just a plane ride away. That’s why it’s so important for both adults and children to be up-to-date on the recommended vaccines before they travel,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Ehresmann noted that travelers are not the only ones at risk. “All Minnesotans should make sure they are vaccinated against measles. Keeping vaccination rates high is the best way to protect our communities because measles can spread before we even know it is here.”
The Minnesota Department of Health late last week identified a case of measles in a 24-month old child who recently returned from a trip to the Middle East, where measles is common.
The Ramsey County child, who was partially vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, was likely infectious between Sept. 6 and Sept. 14. Local public health staff, as well as clinic and hospital staff where the child was treated, are notifying people who may have been exposed in specific settings.
MDH issued a notice Friday to health care providers in the metro area to be alert for patients with signs or symptoms of measles and to ask about travel history. Health officials said likely exposures to this case appear to be limited and the risk to the public is low. If additional cases were to develop as a result of this case, they would likely occur between now and Oct. 5.
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