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20 measles cases prompts warning from officials

MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota health officials are asking parents and medical workers to be on the lookout after 20 children have come down with measles in Hennepin County.

The state Department of Health requests people watch for potential cases and help make sure Minnesota children are protected through vaccinations. Hennepin County and state health workers are trying to identify places where people could have been exposed and are at risk. Officials said Monday that the cases were in the county's Somali community.

Measles can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. A rash will typically spread from the infected person's head to the rest of the body. According to the Department of Health, it can be spread easily through coughing, sneezing or even just being in the same room with someone with measles.

Most Minnesotans are immune, either from vaccination or from having had the disease. However, vaccination rates have declined recently in some communities — often because of fears related to misinformation about vaccine risks, officials said.

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