Minnesota Measles Outbreak Continues, Keep Immunizations Current

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, May 10, 2017
CONTACT:  Lon Kightlinger, (605) 773-3737  

                                             Minnesota Measles Outbreak Continues, Keep Immunizations Current

PIERRE, S.D. – As a Minnesota measles outbreak nears 50 cases, a South Dakota health official urges state residents to make sure their immunizations are up to date.

South Dakota reported its last measles cases in late 2014 when an outbreak centered in Mitchell sickened 10 state residents and four out-of-state residents. Prior to that outbreak, it had been 17 years since South Dakota reported a measles case.

“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,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “Unfortunately, there are some pockets where rates are not as high as they should be and that opens the door for measles to spread.”

He encouraged health care providers and parents to check their children’s immunization records to make sure they have the recommended two doses of MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine – the first dose at 12 months and the second between ages 4 and 6. Kightlinger also asked health providers to be alert for measles in anyone presenting with fever, cough, runny nose and pinkeye followed by rash three to five days later.

According to the latest National Immunization Survey, 94.1 percent of South Dakota’s 19-35 month olds have had one dose of MMR and 90.4 percent of teens 13-17 years have had two doses. The department’s recent kindergarten survey shows 97.1 percent of kindergarten students in the state have had the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine. Three percent of the schools in the survey had 50 percent or fewer of their kindergarten students vaccinated with two doses of MMR.
Those who have received two doses of measles vaccine or were born before 1957 are considered immune to the disease.”

Learn more about measles under the disease tab at http://doh.sd.gov.

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