Minnesota Measles Outbreak Travel-Related

Most international travelers lack vaccine immunization from infectious diseases

child looking at a world globe

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials have confirmed the 3rd case of measles in the last 6 weeks.

This new measles case was a child who had been partially vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), and was likely infectious between September 6 and 14, 2018.

The most recent measles case was a 2-year-old Ramsey County child who recently returned from a trip to the Middle East, according to the MDH.

"All 3 cases have been associated with travel," said Cynthia Kenyon, the supervisor for the vaccine-preventable disease surveillance unit, at MDH.   

"I think it's important for people to remember if they are going to be traveling to make sure they are up to date on their vaccines.”

“Especially with young children, especially those children under the age of 1, to talk to their health care providers because they might actually recommend an early dose of the MMR to make sure that those children are protected," Kenyon told MPR News. 

Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles starts with fever, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

Kenyon urged international travelers, no matter where they are going, to double check their vaccine history before they travel.

"We are seeing quite a bit of measles in Europe, we're seeing it in parts of Eastern Europe, in some of the African countries and then also in South America."

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The CDC has issued various Travel Alerts regarding measles outbreaks.

The CDC says returning international travelers continue to bring measles into the USA.   

According to research, more than 53 percent of US travelers who are eligible for the MMR vaccine, are not getting vaccinated before departing on international travel.

International travelers can easily request a vaccination appointment with a local pharmacy at Vax-Before-Travel.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.

And vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.