Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Minnesota experiencing the worst measles outbreak in nearly 30 years

Researchers have found that brain differences are present at birth in babies who are later diagnosed with autism.


May 9, 2017

Health officials in Minnesota are tackling the worst measles outbreak in nearly 30 years. Most of those with the disease are unvaccinated Somali-American children in the state, which has the largest Somali population in the country.

Minnesota's health commissioner says the community has been targeted with misinformation about vaccine risks.


"I just finished doing rounds on these children and they are miserable. They're in the hospital, they have IV's, they're not drinking, they have terrible coughs, some have pneumonia," Stinchfield said.

The measles virus commonly travels through the air where it can live for up to two hours, making it more contagious than the flu. The only vaccine available in the U.S. to prevent the spread of the disease is the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR.

"One in a thousand children who get measles will have encephalitis or infection in the brain. They can have permanent brain damage. They can have blindness or deafness, and so we wouldn't vaccinate if this was just a rash or illness – this is a very serious disease," Stinchfield said.

In 2014, almost 90 percent of 2-year-old Minnesota children were vaccinated against measles. In the Somali community, that number plummeted to about 40 percent.

Community leader Abdirizak Bihi said it's because of an unfounded fear spawned by anti-vaccine activists that MMR causes autism.

"Some parents… they said at least measles is curable… because they believe that thing is causing autism and they don't have a choice," Bihi said.


Scientific studies have shown there is no direct correlation between the MMR vaccine and increased risk in autism, even among children considered at high risk for the disorder. Minnesota state health officials expect the outbreak to last for months and say the epidemic can't be declared over until six weeks pass with no new reported cases.

No comments:

Post a Comment