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Minnesota’s measles outbreak is tapering off

By Glenn Howatt

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesota’s biggest measles outbreak since 1990 is winding down, with no new cases reported for the past two weeks. But state health officials aren’t ready to call an official end to an outbreak that has sickened 78 people over the past two months.

The two rural counties affected by the outbreak, with a total of six cases, will be considered all-clear as of Tuesday, and Ramsey County, which had three cases, will get that designation Thursday if no new cases develop.

Hennepin County, the epicenter of the outbreak with 69 cases, is still under watch for new infections. It can take three weeks for measles symptoms to develop.

“It has actually been quiet,” said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director for the Minnesota Health Department. “We are really seeing a drop off in measles activity.”

The Health Department’s laboratory, the only facility in the state capable of testing for the measles virus, has seen a dramatic drop-off in samples sent by hospitals and clinics. And state epidemiologists are not aware of any people with symptoms that need to be monitored.