Measles outbreak “possible” in Austin
While it’s unlikely a measles outbreak in Minneapolis would spread to Mower County, that doesn’t mean a similar scenario couldn’t play out in Austin.
Margene Gunderson, Director of Community Health Services with the Mower County Public Health department, said an outbreak of seven confirmed measles cases in Minneapolis this week serves as a reminder for the importance of immunizations.
“We could potentially have a measles problem in our county,” she said. “It’s a reminder that vaccine-preventable diseases will and do emerge, so we must be vigilant in getting our kids in and adults in for their booster doses.”
The Minnesota Department of Health says three of the seven cases in the Twin Cities involve children old enough to get vaccinated, but haven’t, and that the outbreak probably started with an infant who returned from Kenya last month.
In Mower County, Gunderson said measles haven’t been an issue, but cases of another preventable disease, pertussis, or whooping cough, have sprung up.
“We have a tool available for our youth to prevent these awful diseases, so we need to be sure we are vaccinating our children and ourselves,” she said.
Adding to the problem have been reports that immunizations can cause autism, something Gunderson said is not accurate.
“Studies are proving over and over again that there is no link (between immunizations and autism),” she said. “While there are some families, and they choose not to vaccinate their children, the majority do believe in the importance of it.”
To schedule immunization shots or for more information, contact Gunderson at 507-437-9770.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.