For the past two weeks, we have watched the Minnesota measles outbreak grow into 32 confirmed cases as of Friday. The bulk of the cases have been reported in Somali children in the state with all of them being unvaccinated.
During an interview on the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, or CIDRAP at the University of Minnesota and coauthor of the news book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, Mike Osterholm, PhD, MPH said this outbreak is expected to grow.
“Yes, we are in the middle of a horrible measles outbreak right now in Minnesota, it is primarily in the Somali population, which when you think about it in 2008, the Somali population’s level of measles immunization exceeded that of the rest of the state of Minnesota.
“And then several cases of autism occurred in Somali children and Dr Wakefield, Andrew Wakefield, who was the person who perpetrated the fraudulent study on the world saying that measles vaccine caused autism, you know that study has since been basically rebuked by any number of authorities and literally removed from the medical journal, he lost his medical license–and he’s actually made several trips here to Minnesota to tell the Somalis that this is where it came from the measles vaccine.
“As a result, from 2008 and to today, the rate of immunization has dropped dramatically because of their concern about children getting autism.
“Well that just laid us wide open for the first introduction of measles virus into this area. And we’re talking about many thousands of kids who are potentially at risk for not having been vaccinated and culturally it’s hard to get them vaccinated, so we are expecting this measles outbreak to grow substantially.”
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