The Minnesota Department of Health reported on August 19, 2011 that there are two new cases of measles in that state. The index case is a 12-month-old infant who was infected while on a trip to Kenya. The second case is a 15-month-old child who acquired the measles virus after exposure to the first infant. Neither child, both residents of Dakota County, had been vaccinated against the disease. Both children have been hospitalized. The Shakopee Valley News and the Columbus, IN paper The Republic, as well as news station KARE11, report that the 12-month-old child is in critical condition. These cases are not connected with the measles outbreak in Hennepin County earlier this year, which resulted in 21 cases, almost all unvaccinated, with 14 hospitalizations.
Although both children were unvaccinated, it should be noted that they are right around the age when the first dose of MMR is recommended, according to the CDC schedule (PDF). Sources do not report any reason for the infants being unimmunized; it may be that the parents simply had not scheduled the appointment yet. It is also possible that the parents had avoided the MMR due to misinformation promulgated over the past several years in Minnesota by anti-vaccine activists which has negatively impacted herd immunity.
I will try to keep an eye on this situation, in case any further cases arise.
UPDATE: The 12-month old who has been hospitalized since August 10 appears to finally be recovering. Measles left Mahi Abdallah susceptible to a secondary pneumonia infection that very nearly killed him. He has been cared for in the pediatric ICU at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. His mother, Nuria Koto, had planned to have him vaccinated against measles, but he was only 9 months old when the family left to visit Kenya. She thought he was too young to receive the MMR (typically recommended to first be given at 12 months) and was unaware of travel recommendations that allow for administration of the vaccine as young as 6 months old. I urge those considering whether or not to delay vaccinating against MMR to read his story. No parent should have to go through this, and my heart goes out to Nuria, Mahi and the rest of their family.
Minnesota Measles Outbreak - A Recap
Acute Thrombocytopenic Purpura, the MMR and Natural Infection
"Soft" Hospitalizations in Minnesota Measles Outbreak?
Minnesota Measles Outbreak by the Numbers: A Timeline
Measles Outbreak in New South Wales, Australia
Climbing Numbers in Minnesota Measles Outbreak
More Cases of Measles in Minnesota, 3 of 4 Hospitalized
Minnesota Infant Contracts Measles - Why Immunization Is Important
Measles Outbreak in Boston