So far, 58 cases of measles have been identified in Minnesota. And at least 15 children have been hospitalized as a result. We’re in the midst of the biggest measles outbreak the state has seen in decades—and it’s directly tied to a drastic drop in vaccination rates.
The bigger question: What’s causing this drop in vaccination rates? Health officials trace it to propaganda spread by anti-vaxxers and vaccine skeptics.
“What we have now is a community that was really influenced by these anti-vaccine groups,” David Johnson, program manager with Minnesota’s Hennepin County Health Department, tells NBC News. The community’s Somali immigrant population has been hit the hardest. “And they’ve performed a natural experiment: to forgo the measles vaccine based on this propaganda.”
Hennepin County and the wider Minneapolis-area do happen to have above average Autism rates, which health officials believe prompted misinformed residents to become opposed to vaccinations—and spread that message. But as Patsy Stinchfield, MS, RN, CPNP, CIC, senior director of infection prevention and control at Children’s Minnesota previously told The Bump, “Vaccines do not cause Autism….