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As Minnesota measles outbreak rages, anti-vaxxers continue to target Somali community

As Minnesota measles outbreak rages, anti-vaxxers continue to target Somali community

Ed Ehlinger asked state lawmakers for $5 million to address the state's growing infectious disease crises, which includes "the largest measles outbreak the state has faced in almost 30 years, " according to a statement obtained by the Post-Bulletin.

The soaring cost of the outbreak is causing state health officials to call for a 5 million dollar emergency fund to be built into the state's budget.

In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in Minnesota, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) now put the outbreak at 50 cases in three counties- Hennepin, Ramsey and Crow Wing Counties. While it is the duty of the Minnesota Health Department to respond to the threats swiftly, it can not continuously divert resources and funds from other important health services and channel its focus on "disease outbreaks and threats".

There have been 51 confirmed cases of measles in Minnesota in the last four weeks.

According to the minister, the case was confirmed after tests done at the Cantacuzino Institute, reports local Agerpres. But Minnesota and other states see sporadic cases, typically linked to global travel and the influx of Third World refugees and asylum seekers.

Eight of those 168 cases diagnosed were multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB, an extremely risky and expensive to treat form of the disease.

Disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield, author of a since-discredited 1998 paper that implied a link between vaccines and autism, has made at least two visits to speak to the Somali community in Minnesota, according to health officials.

"During the five years between 2010 and 2014, 732 cases of active TB were diagnosed in Minnesota".

Valley News asked the MN Health Department if this money is being asked for now because of an increase in Somali-Americans.

"Twenty-nine percent of the 593 foreign-born cases of active TB diagnosed in Minnesota, or 161, were attributed to Somali born migrants".

According to a press release of the Health Ministry issued on Tuesday, the EC decision came following minister Florian Bodog's request. Less than half of the 2,244 arriving refugees who were medically screened were screened for syphlis, while 2,137 were screened for TB infection.

Minneapolis St-Paul has the largest Somali community in the United States, estimated to about 70,000 in total.


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