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Minnesota Measles Outbreak a Reminder to Keep Immunizations Current

A doctor wears a stethoscope
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

An ongoing measles outbreak in Minnesota is a reminder of the importance of keeping immunizations current.

“The good news is that South Dakota’s overall immunization coverage rate for measles vaccination is high, which is why we were able to contain the 2014 outbreak with so few cases,” Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health, said in a press release. “Unfortunately, there are some pockets where rates are not as high as they should be and that opens the door for measles to spread.”

South Dakota’s last reported case of measles was in late 2014. An outbreak centered in Mitchell sickened 14 people. Prior to that outbreak, it had been 17 years since a South Dakota measles case.

South Dakota health officials encourage parents to make sure their kids have had the recommended two doses of MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine. The first dose comes at 12 months and the second between ages 4 and 6. People that have had the two doses of measles vaccine, or were born before 1957, are considered immune to the disease

Health providers are also asked to be alert for measles in anyone presenting with fever, cough, runny nose and pinkeye followed by rash three to five days later.

Source: South Dakota Department of Health

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