As Minnesota measles outbreak rages, anti-vaxxers continue to target Somali community

Toni Houston
May 13, 2017

Those who had measles were mostly unvaccinated Somali-American children living in the said state.

An outbreak of infectious diseases in Minnesota is causing local health providers to keep an eye out for symptoms in our area.

After an outbreak of measles has been confirmed in Minnesota, concern is rising over the possibility of the disease making it's way to Wisconsin.

"Significant threats to public health are becoming more frequent and costly", Ehlinger said.

Patsy Stinchfield, Children's Minnesota's senior director of infection control, said the worker who contracted measles had an "extremely mild" case.

A huge burden for the taxpayer that could be prevented.

Of the 51 cases in Minnesota, at least 10 have resulted in hospitalization.

Ninety percent of people who are not vaccinated will catch measles if they are exposed. "There are economic costs for their families, and there are costs to the public health system". There have also been no confirmed cases of measles in Wisconsin yet either.

Severe complications from measles include pneumonia and inflammation of the brain and a condition called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) that is fatal and more common in infants, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

"We've known it's going to be a matter of time before something happens", she told ABC News in an earlier interview.

Ehresmann said perhaps another 300 possible measles cases have been ruled out.

Health professionals within and outside the Somali community say that anti-vaxxers have a history of stoking fear within the community by spreading misinformation linking vaccines to autism - a connection that has been disproven again and again.

The commissioner says current state funding doesn't give health officials the flexibility needed to deal with emerging disease threats. While it is the duty of the Minnesota Health Department to respond to the threats swiftly, it can not continuously divert resources and funds from other important health services and channel its focus on "disease outbreaks and threats".

State and local health departments have been complaining for years that their resources are stretched, even as they lay off more staff.

"We have very high immunization rates here in Wisconsin, but we do know that there are individuals who are not protected and it really is important for everyone to ensure they are protected", Schauer said.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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