Denise Stinson, R.N.; (253) 798-7671

Information for Pierce County Healthcare Provders

Actions Requested

  • Be aware of an expanding outbreak of measles in Minneapolis, MN.
  • Advise patients planning travel of increased measles activity and ensure that they are adequately immunized.
  • When evaluating febrile rash illness, ask about out of state and out of country travel within the last 21 days.


A measles outbreak is occurring in the Minneapolis, Minnesota metropolitan area. As of April 24, 2017, 20 cases have been confirmed with additional suspect cases being tested. At least 10 cases have been hospitalized. The age range is 0 to 5 years, and all 20 cases are from the Somali community, which has very low rates (<42%) of vaccination for MMR. The source case is a 20 month-old unvaccinated Somali child who had rash onset on March 30. This child had not traveled and the source of her infection is unknown. The other 19 cases had rash onsets between April 8 and present. Frequent interaction occurs between Somali community members residing Minneapolis, Seattle, and other U.S. cities.

In 2017, measles cases have also occurred in California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington. There are outbreaks of measles occurring in European countries, with over 1,500 cases reported in the first 2 months of 2017.

Measles presents with a prodrome of fever, coryza and conjunctivitis. About 3 days after onset of fever, a macular-papular rash starts on the face and spreads down the body. The incubation period of measles is 7 to 21 days. When evaluating patients with rash illness, ask about out of state or country travel during the 7-21 days prior to onset of rash.

Persons who travel outside of U.S. should be up to date on immunizations for measles. Infants age 6-11 months traveling outside the U.S. with their parents should have a dose of MMR vaccine. This dose is not counted as a valid lifetime dose, but will protect them during travel.

Report cases of suspect measles immediately to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Collect nasopharyngeal swab, urine and serum and we will assist with forwarding specimens for testing at the Washington State Public Health Lab.

Call (253) 798-6410 for immediate assistance.