- The outbreak, which started in late February, was linked to an unvaccinated child who had recently traveled to Kenya.
By the end of the outbreak, it is estimated that:
- 21 cases of measles could be tied to this outbreak, which is almost as many as were reported in the previous 14 years combined (22 cases)
- 2 additional cases in Minnesota not linked to the outbreak put the total number of cases in Minnesota for the year at 23
- 14 children were hospitalized
- many of the cases were in unvaccinated Somali immigrants, who were afraid of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism
- many others were too young to be vaccinated
Because of the outbreak, the Minnesota Department of Health recommended an accelerated measles vaccination schedule for certain children, including all toddlers and preschoolers living in Hennepin County, who had to get their second MMR shot early. So instead of getting their MMR booster when they were four to six years old, the routine age, because of the increased risk of measles in the area, many children got their MMR booster as early as 28 days after their first shot at 12 months of age.
One thing that hasn’t been reported yet is how much it cost the Hennepin County Health Department and/or the Minnesota Department of Health spent to contain the largest outbreak of the year. The health department in Utah spent about 3,000 work hours and $130,000 trying to contain their outbreak. And a recent measles outbreak in Arizona cost two hospitals almost $800,000, which makes a similar 2008 measles outbreak in California seem like a bargain, as it was estimated to cost about $179,000 to contain.
With looming budget cuts, I’m sure all of these health departments would like to do a lot more with that money than fight an infection that is easily preventable with a readily available vaccine.
Get Educated. Get Vaccinated. Stop the Measles Outbreaks.