Measles is on the rise – what should you do?
Measles infections continue to spread in Minnesota with cases reported in Hennepin, Ramsey and Crow Wing counties. Unvaccinated children are getting this vaccine-preventable disease, most of whom are under five years of age. HCMC is working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) as they monitor and provide guidance for this recent outbreak.
Measles is highly infectious and can cause severe illness leading to hospitalization or even death. Early symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. A rash then develops which spreads from the head to the rest of the body. Complications from measles include ear infections, pneumonia, and encephalitis (brain infection).
Measles spreads quickly among people who have not been vaccinated. The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is highly effective in preventing measles if you are exposed.
MMR vaccine recommendations:
- Children receive 2 doses of MMR: the first dose at 12-15 months, with a second dose at 4-6 years of age.
- Adults born in or after 1957 need at least one dose of MMR or documentation of measles immunity.
- Infants 6-11 months old traveling internationally should receive an early dose of MMR.
- During this measles outbreak, MDH is recommending that children in Hennepin County, and all Somali children get the second dose of measles vaccine early (it needs to be at least 28 days after first dose).
- If you are concerned that you or your child has measles or may have been exposed, call your health care provider to decide if you need to come in for a clinic visit.
- You should also call and make an appointment to get vaccinated if you or your child needs the MMR vaccine.
HCMC staff are available to talk with you if you have any questions or concerns about measles or your immunization status. In the best interest of all of our patients, please call the scheduling line at 612.873.6963 and speak with a nurse or your health care provider if you think you or your child has been exposed to measles. You may also schedule an appointment for an MMR vaccine at any of our downtown or neighborhood clinics by calling that same number: 612.873.6963.
We are advising that children age 17 and under wear a mask if they are in one of our clinics (including off-site clinics) or Urgent Care areas. Anyone (of any age) who has a cough or cold symptom should also wear a mask.
More information about the current measles situation in Minnesota can be found on the MDH web page: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/measles/
Content source: Minnesota Department of Health