Health officials confirm 9th measles case in Hennepin County outbreak

A ninth case of measles has now been confirmed in Hennepin County. They all involve young children and none were vaccinated against the disease.

Eight of the nine affected children are from the Somali community, where vaccination rates for MMR, which provides protection against measles, mumps and rubella, are much lower than in the rest of the population.

The MMR vaccination rate is around 90 percent for 2-year-olds in the general population, but in the Somali community, rates are as low as 41 percent, said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director for the Minnesota Department of Health.

That's something that state officials have been trying to change.

In the past, the Somali community has been targeted by anti-vaccine groups linking autism to vaccines, views which have been widely discredited by scientific research.

Ehresmann said she believes there will be additional measles cases.

"Right now, all the cases that we're seeing have come from a single exposure that we're aware of. These individuals have also exposed others and we have yet to see the effects of those exposures," she said.

Click on the audio player above to hear their conversation.