Five new cases of measles confirmed in Hennepin County

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has confirmed five new cases of measles in Hennepin County which brings the total number of cases to eight.

MI health officials have confirmed a second case of measles in the state, and Washtenaw County leaders are warning resident about possible exposure to the illness in Ann Arbor. The two individuals are not members of the same family or otherwise related, they were both passengers on the same flight when the first individual was contagious.

Measles outbreaks are rare in the USA, but the highly contagious disease still is found in other parts of the world. Measles can cause complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Doctors also say people may be contagious for a few days before they start showing symptoms, which puts other people at risk.

Two restaurants are working with the Washtenaw County Public Health to keep employees and customers safe from exposure to measles, a highly contagious disease that has seen a disturbing resurgence in recent years.

Health officials say the best prevention for measles is the vaccine, which is available to people as young as 6 months.

"This is the second case of measles in MI this year", said Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, medical director for WCPH.

"This underscores the importance of routine vaccination for both children and adults, and of making certain as many Michiganders as possible have protective immunity against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases", said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS.

Most people in Minnesota are immune to measles either from having been vaccinated or from having had the disease. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of the vaccine.

Three cases were confirmed earlier this week, and at the time health officials warned that other cases could follow since the children were treated in an emergency room. The following symptoms involve a red, raised body rash that starts on the head and face but can make its way to the rest of the body. In 2014, 667 measles cases were reported in the country, which is highest since 2000.

The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.

For more information, go to the department website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From Jan. 1 to March 25 of this year, 28 people from 10 states that didn't yet include Minnesota were reported to have measles, the CDC says.

  • Joanne Flowers