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Minnesota has minor measles numbers, North Dakota has none

GRAND FORKS — No cases of measles have been reported in North Dakota and only two cases were found this year in Minnesota.

Both cases were reported in young children who contracted the virus during travels to Africa. Measles is a highly contagious and sometimes fatal virus. Symptoms incubate for the first few weeks and include fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes, white spots in the mouth and a large, blotchy skin rash. It is spread by coming into contact with infected fluids, like infected droplets from coughing, sneezing or talking.

The disease was considered eliminated in 2000 because high vaccination rates led to low numbers of infections.

Last year more than 70 Minnesotans contracted measles, the largest statewide outbreak in over 20 years.The rapid spread of the virus was largely attributed to a lack of vaccinations among children.

There has not been a measles case in North Dakota since 2011.

Across the country, 124 cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states and the District of Columbia. There have been 9 outbreaks, which occur when three or more cases are linked. With four more months to go before the end of the year, there have already been more cases this year than last. In 2017 there 118 people contracted the measles.

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