Measles case confirmed in Albert Lea

Published 8:22 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

Health officials are warning local residents about possible exposure to measles after someone with a confirmed case was at an Albert Lea gas station April 16.

The person with a confirmed case of measles was reportedly at Freeborn County Co-op gas station, 1845 Margaretha Ave., between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. that day, according to a Minnesota Department of Health press release The person was at a McDonald’s restaurant at 172 Main St. in Winona between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. April 13.

“If you were at either of these locations at these specific times, health officials say you should watch for symptoms of measles and check your vaccination status,” according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

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Measles symptoms include high fever, coughing, runny nose, red and watery eyes and a rash. It can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and the virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area.

Health care providers are advised to isolate suspected measles patients and immediately report suspected cases to the Department of Health. The department advised checking immunization records or consulting with health care providers if you have visited either of the locations during the reported times and are unsure whether you are protected through vaccination or natural immunity.

Most people born before 1957 have had measles disease and are considered immune, according to the Department of Health.

“Most adults and children born in 1957 or later are protected against measles through immunization,” according to the release. “If you are not fully vaccinated, getting the MMR vaccine can protect you against measles in future situations but will not prevent measles if you were exposed on April 13 or April 16.”

The department reportedly became aware Monday that a non-Minnesota resident who had measles traveled through Minnesota.

Measles, which can be prevented with a vaccine, is described as a highly-infectious rash illness. The Department of Health estimated subsequent cases from the incidents would be expected to occur between Monday and May 7.

“If someone has been exposed and has signs consistent with measles, it is important that they stay isolated from others to prevent spreading the disease and call their health care provider,” said Kris Ehresmann, Department of Health director of infectious disease, in the release.

“If you are diagnosed with measles, it is important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and your community.”

State and local health officials are contacting owners of the two locations to provide recommendations for employees.

According to the Department of Health, though Minnesota has not had any confirmed measles cases this year, “measles exposure can occur at any time and at any place. Measles cases and outbreaks have been reported in multiple states so far in 2018, and because of international and domestic travel, the risk of exposure is always present.”

Anyone who is not sure if they have had a measles shot is advised to contact a doctor or clinic. Immunization records can be requested by calling the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection at 651-201-3980 or by visiting MIIC immunization records requests at

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been 34 measles cases this year in the United States. There were reportedly 118 last year and 86 in 2016.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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