A recent outbreak of measles is the latest public health problem among Somalis who live in metropolitan Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota, home to the largest Somali community in the country.
Measles now joins active tuberculosis as a public health problem within Minnesota’s Somali community.
“During the five years between 2010 and 2014, 732 cases of active TB were diagnosed in Minnesota. Of these, 81 percent, or 593, were foreign-born. Of foreign-born cases, 50 percent, or 296, were refugees, according to “The Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in Minnesota, 2010-2014,” a report published by the Minnesota Department of Health,” Breitbart News noted in October.
“Twenty-nine percent of the 593 foreign-born cases of active TB diagnosed in Minnesota [between 2012 and 2015], or 161, were attributed to Somali born migrants. Almost all Somali migrants to the United States have arrived under the federal refugee resettlement program,” Breitbart News reported at the time.
“The Hennepin County measles outbreak grew to 20 cases Monday, after eight new infections were confirmed. State health officials said all the cases have occurred within the Somali-American community, and they urged parents to get the measles vaccine for themselves and their children if they are unvaccinated,” the Star Tribune reported last week:
The outbreak is expected to produce many more cases and could exceed the 2011 outbreak of 26 cases, according to Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the Minnesota Health Department.
So far, all of those who have caught the measles in this outbreak are 5 years old or younger. Exposure has occurred at several day care centers.
Since the first case was detected two weeks ago, health investigators have been trying to identify anyone unvaccinated exposed to the virus, which is highly contagious. It can take up to three weeks for measles symptoms to develop.