Measles in Minnesota: Child hospitalized and second home isolation after testing positive for disease most dangerous in under-5s
- Adolescents began suffering from measles symptoms shortly after returning from a country where the disease is “common”.
- Neither of them had been vaccinated against the disease and both lived in Hennepin County, which includes the state capital of Minneapolis
- Unvaccinated children are at the “highest risk” of disease, health officials say
- Up to one in 300 people will die after contracting the easily communicable disease
Measles has been discovered in two Minnesota children, including one whose illness was so severe that they had to be hospitalized, local health officials say.
The youths – both under the age of five – began showing symptoms of the disease shortly after returning from an unnamed nation where “measles is rampant”.
While one child is in the emergency department of a hospital, the second is currently in home isolation.
Neither of them had been vaccinated against the disease and both lived in Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis.
Unvaccinated children are at “highest risk” from measles, says the World Health Organization. Figures show that up to one in 300 American children will die from the disease.
Measles has been eliminated in the United States for nearly 20 years thanks to a comprehensive immunization program. But globally, the disease continues to circulate in a handful of countries, including Brazil, India and areas of West and Central Africa.
The youths – both younger than five years old – began suffering symptoms after returning from a country where the disease is common (file photo).
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MEASLES AND HOW TO START THEM?
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world, even more so than Covid.
It spreads easily through coughing, sneezing, or just being in the same room as an infected person.
Symptoms develop between six and 19 days after infection and include a runny nose, cough, sore eyes, and fever.
These result in a rash about three days later that is red and blotchy for several days before turning brown and eventually fading.
Up to 1 in 300 children will die from the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the disease is most serious in young children.
There is a vaccine that protects 99 percent against measles.
It is given in two doses at around one year and five years of age.
The Minnesota Department of Health did not disclose what symptoms the children had been suffering from.
But in the early stages, there can be white patches on the tongue and a “blotchy” brown or red rash all over the body.
Contact tracing is now being carried out to see if the disease has spread.
However, health officials said: “The children were isolated when symptoms began, 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 injection is usually given when the child is between 12 and 15 months old, while the booster shot is given between the ages of four and six years.
Children are not considered fully protected against measles until they have received both doses.
About 99 out of 100 people who get the vaccine will become immune to measles, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world – even more so than Covid – and is spread by coughing, speaking 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 in children, the CDC and WHO say.
About one in 20 children who contract the disease will develop pneumonia, while one in 1,000 will experience brain swelling that can lead to seizures or even hearing loss.
Overall, about one in five people with measles is hospitalized because of the disease.
Patients are also at risk of long-term complications, including a fatal nervous system disorder called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
It is now very rare in the United States because measles has been eliminated from the country.