MINNEAPOLIS - Health officials have confirmed six cases of measles in Hennepin County children and cautioned more could be on the way in areas where parents have been reluctant to vaccinate their kids.
The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed the fifth and sixth cases on Friday. Three of the children are from the Somali community, where some parents have been reluctant to immunize their children over fears of the vaccine's safety.
Health officials are trying to ease those fears and persuade parents to get their kids vaccinated.
''Contrary to misinformation that may still be circulating, the measles vaccine is safe and effective. Without it, the risk of disease is real,'' said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, the commissioner of the state health department. ''Children can die from measles.''
Buddy Ferguson, a health department spokesman, said all six cases are Hennepin County children aged 9 months to 4 years old.
State epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield said four children were hospitalized, and all are now recovering.
Symptoms of measles, which include a rash, fever and loss of appetite, usually appear eight to 12 days after exposure to airborne infectious droplets. The rash usually lasts five to six days.