The number of cases from the latest outbreak of measles in Minnesota is up to nine, and six of those children have been hospitalized. All those infected are from the Somali community — which state Health Department expert Kris Ehresmann says has been targeted with misinformation that the measles vaccine causes autism. She says that assertion has been “thoroughly discredited by science, but it is still something that some individuals are struggling with.” Ehresmann says the measles vaccination rate in the Somali community is only in the mid-40-percent range.
Ehresmann says measles can be a very serious disease: “You can have dehydration, you can develop secondary pneumonias, you can develop encephalitis, and we certainly do see deaths from measles.” Ehresmann says in the measles outbreak of 1990, there were 460 cases and three deaths. Measles is highly infectious and is easily spread by coughs and sneezes to those who have not been immunized.
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