A measles case has been confirmed in an unvaccinated, white adult who lives in Hennepin County and was likely exposed to measles at locations frequented by the last identified case, according to the  Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Image/Jim Goodson, M.P.H.
Image/Jim Goodson, M.P.H.

This brings the outbreak total to 79 since April.  Patients were residents of Hennepin, Ramsey, LeSueur, and Crow Wing counties.

The latest case visited several public locations in Hennepin, Ramsey and Carver Counties while infectious. MDH is working with those counties to follow up on as many exposures as possible from this most recent case.

The newest case has been asked to stay home while potentially infectious. Several additional unvaccinated people who were exposed to this case have been identified, so there is the potential for more cases to develop, according to Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for MDH.

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Health officials continuously monitor for measles and will need to see a 42-day period without additional cases before declaring the outbreak over.

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“While there’s been some recent speculation that the outbreak was nearing its end, we’ve been cautious about making any predictions,” Ehresmann said. “When you’re dealing with a disease that can spread as easily as measles, you need to keep your guard up until the very end of the possible timeframe when people could get sick. This latest case is unfortunate, but 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.”

According to a new report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , the outbreak began in early April among unvaccinated toddlers who attended the same childcare facilities. The children were part of Minneapolis’ Somali-American community, and belonged to a cohort of children who were unvaccinated due to parental concerns over autism.

Because the outbreak occurred in a community with low MMR vaccination coverage, measles spread rapidly, resulting in thousands of exposures in child care centers, schools, and health care facilities.

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