Listen Live

MINNEAPOLIS – Two young, unvaccinated siblings in Minnesota have been diagnosed with measles, state health officials said Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

According to the Pioneer Press and WCCO-TV, the Minnesota Department of Health said it is investigating the confirmed cases, which occurred in two children from Hennepin County.

“The two children developed symptoms shortly after returning from a visit to a country where measles is common,” the department said in a news release. “Both have tested positive for measles. The preschool-aged children were not vaccinated, and one was hospitalized due to measles complications.”

The department, Hennepin County Public Health workers and other health care providers are notifying anyone who may have been exposed to the disease, according to the release. If more cases emerge, they probably would develop by July 1, the department said.

“The risk to the general public from these cases is low,” the release said. “The children were isolated when symptoms started, so exposures were limited to health care and family settings.”

Patients with measles – which typically spreads through coughing, talking or being near someone with the illness – may experience a high fever, watery eyes, a runny nose, a cough and, eventually, a rash, the department said. The first symptoms typically occur about eight to 12 days after exposure, according to the release.

“Measles can be a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death,” the department said. “If you have symptoms of measles, call your doctor or clinic and they will let you know if you need to come in for a visit.”

Vaccination is “the best way to prevent measles,” the department continued, adding that childhood vaccination rates for measles, mumps and rubella, as well as other diseases, fell during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This case emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated for diseases, such as measles, which can be prevented with vaccines,” State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield said in a statement. “Vaccines are extremely effective for preventing measles. It’s important that we work on getting our immunization rates back up where they need to be so that all children in Minnesota are protected.”