ST. PAUL -- The measles outbreak in Minnesota continues to spread with health officials announcing Monday the number of cases statewide has hit 58 - including two new cases in southern Minnesota county.
Monday’s number is an increase from 54 cases on Friday. The new cases include a third in Ramsey County and two in LeSueur County, located southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Most of the outbreak, 49 of the 58 total cases, has been in Hennepin County.
All but 3 of the cases involve people that were not vaccinated, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
The outbreak has hit the Somali Minnesota community hardest, with 49 of the total cases.
Measles spreads easily among unvaccinated people and can lead to hospitalization and even death, state health officials said. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes followed by a rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body. The disease is easily spread through the air.
While most Minnesotans are immune - either from having been vaccinated or having had the disease - fear related to misinformation about vaccine risks has led to a decline in vaccination rates, according to health officials.