Measles Alert at HCMC! MDH Warns of Potential Exposure (Get Vaccinated!)

A recent measles exposure at Hennepin Healthcare (HCMC), a major healthcare system in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has sparked concern and prompted a public health warning from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This incident highlights the importance of measles vaccination and the potential risks associated with this highly contagious disease.

Understanding the Measles Exposure at HCMC

According to the MDH, three siblings who were recently diagnosed with measles visited HCMC for medical care on May 21st, 2024. The siblings reportedly developed symptoms shortly after returning from a trip to a European country where measles is more common. They were at HCMC between 11:00 PM on May 21st and 6:00 AM on May 22nd, potentially exposing others in the healthcare facility during that timeframe.

The MDH is working closely with HCMC to identify and contact individuals who may have been exposed to the measles virus. This includes patients, visitors, and healthcare workers who were present during the timeframe in question. The focus is on ensuring these individuals are aware of the potential exposure and take appropriate steps to protect themselves and others.

About Measles: A Highly Contagious Disease

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. It is characterized by a distinctive red rash, fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. Measles can be a serious illness, especially for young children and individuals with weakened immune systems. Complications of measles can include pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and even death.

The spread of measles occurs through coughing, sneezing, or close contact with infected individuals. The virus can linger in the air for up to two hours after an infected person coughs or sneezes. This highlights the ease with which measles can spread in crowded settings like healthcare facilities.

Importance of Measles Vaccination: Protecting Yourself and Others

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent measles. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is a safe and highly effective three-in-one vaccine that protects against all three diseases. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended for optimal protection:

  • The first dose is typically given between 12 and 15 months of age.
  • The second dose is routinely given between 4 and 6 years of age.

Vaccination not only protects individuals from getting sick but also helps prevent the spread of the disease in the community. Herd immunity, achieved when a large portion of the population is vaccinated, creates a protective barrier that minimizes the risk of outbreaks for those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons or young age.

Responding to the HCMC Measles Exposure: What You Should Do

If you were potentially exposed to measles at HCMC between 11:00 PM on May 21st and 6:00 AM on May 22nd, 2024, here’s what you should do:

  • Contact the MDH: Call the MDH hotline at (651) 201-5404 to discuss your potential exposure and receive guidance on next steps.
  • Monitor for Symptoms: Be aware of the symptoms of measles, including fever, cough, runny nose, and a red rash. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult a healthcare provider immediately.
  • Vaccination Status: Review your vaccination records to confirm your MMR vaccination status. If you haven’t received the recommended two doses of the MMR vaccine, getting vaccinated is crucial to protect yourself and others.

Following these steps will help mitigate the risk of spreading measles and ensure you are properly protected against this potentially serious illness.

Measles Prevention: A Community Effort

The recent measles exposure at HCMC serves as a reminder of the importance of measles vaccination for both individual and community health. Here’s what we can do collectively to prevent measles outbreaks:

  • Vaccinate Your Children: Ensure your children receive the recommended two doses of the MMR vaccine according to the immunization schedule.
  • Vaccination Records: Maintain and update your family’s vaccination records to ensure everyone is up-to-date on their immunizations.
  • Community Awareness: Promote awareness about measles and the importance of vaccination within your community.

By working together and prioritizing vaccination, we can significantly reduce the risk of measles outbreaks and protect ourselves and future generations from this preventable disease.


The measles exposure at HCMC underscores the need for continued vigilance and proactive measures to prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease. Vaccination remains the cornerstone of measles prevention. By getting vaccinated and encouraging others to do the same, we can build strong community immunity and create a safer environment for everyone.