Measles in Minnesota: Child hospitalized and second isolating at home after testing positive for disease that is most dangerous in under-5s
- Youngsters started suffering symptoms of measles shortly after returning from a country where the disease ‘is common’
- Neither had been vaccinated against the disease and both lived in Hennepin county which encompasses the state capital Minneapolis
- Unvaccinated children are at ‘highest risk’ from disease, health officials say
- Up to one in every 300 die after catching the easily transmitted disease
Measles has been spotted in two children in Minnesota including one whose illness was so severe it led to them being hospitalized, local health officials say.
The youngsters — both under five years old — started displaying symptoms of the disease shortly after returning from an unnamed nation where ‘measles is common’.
While one child is on emergency wards at a hospital the second is currently in isolation at home.
Neither was vaccinated against the disease, and both lived in Hennepin county which includes Minneapolis.
Unvaccinated children are at ‘highest risk’ from measles, the World Health Organization says. Figures show up to one in 300 Americans children die from the disease.
Measles has been eliminated in the United States for almost 20 years thanks to a comprehensive vaccination program. But globally the disease continues to circulate in a handful of countries including Brazil, India and areas of West and Central Africa.
The youngsters — both less than five years old — started suffering symptoms after returning from a country where the disease is common (file photo)
The Minnesota Department of Health did not reveal what symptoms the children had suffered.
But in the early stages it may trigger white spots on the tongue and a ‘blotchy’ brown or red colored rash across the body.
Contact tracing is now underway to determine whether the disease has spread.
But health officials said: ‘The children were isolating when symptoms started, so exposures were limited to health care and family settings.’
The United States offers a two-dose vaccine against measles called Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR). There are no single-jab options.
The first shot is normally given when the child is between 12 and 15 months old, while the booster is administered between the ages of four and six years.
Children are only considered to be fully protected against measles when they have received both doses.
About 99 out of 100 people that receive the jab become immune to measles, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world — more so than Covid — and spreads via coughing, talking or even being in the same room as a patient.
Early symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes followed by a rash that typically spreads from the head to the rest of the body.
The disease is most serious among children, the CDC and WHO say.
About one in every 20 children who catch the disease develop pneumonia, while one out of every 1,000 faces swelling in the brain that can lead to convulsions or even a loss of hearing.
Overall about one in five people who catch measles are admitted to hospital for the disease.
Patients are also at risk of long-term complications including a fatal disease of the nervous system termed subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
It is now very rare in the United States because measles has been eliminated from the country.