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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Minnesota Sees Largest Outbreak of Measles in Almost 30 Years

Health officials are grappling with the largest outbreak of measles in Minnesota in almost 30 years, which is mainly sickening young children of Somali immigrants who fell under the sway of anti-vaccination activists.
The state has reported 44 confirmed cases of measles since April 11, and the outbreak is the largest this year in the United States, which had essentially eradicated the disease in 2000 before discredited researchstoked fears of a link between vaccines and autism.
All but two cases happened in people who were not vaccinated, and nearly all were in the immigrant community in Hennepin County, a densely populated county that is home to Minneapolis and its suburbs.
“The outbreak started among Somali Minnesotans who have a low vaccination rate for M.M.R.,” he said, referring to the shot for measles, mumpsrubella.
He said the community was “targeted” by members of the anti-vaccination movement, adding that vaccination rates in the community had been as high or even higher than those in the white population, but that began to change in 2008.
Members of the community came to believe incorrectly that they had an unusually high rate of autism and that the cases were related to vaccines. But later studies showed that their autism rates were not out of line with those of the state’s white population, he said.
Read more here at The New York Times.