North Dakota’s first case of Rubella since 1991 shows up in Cass CountyAn adult male in Cass County was diagnosed with rubella, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.
By: Erin Hemme Froslie, The Forum
FARGO — An adult male in Cass County was diagnosed with rubella, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.
It is the first case of the disease, also known as German measles, in North Dakota since 1991, said Molly Sander, the department’s immunization program manager.
The man, who was not identified, recently traveled to India, where he likely contracted it, health officials said.
“A lot of times you’re at a higher risk of diseases like this when you travel internationally,” Sander said. “These diseases are just a plane ride away.”
Health officials are contacting North Dakota residents who may have been exposed to the man during air travel, she said. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will notify other states if their residents were exposed, Sanders said.
The CDC recommends that people leaving the United States should be immune to rubella. North Dakota health officials were unable to determine whether the Cass County man was immunized for the disease.
Generally, rubella is a mild rash illness. But if a pregnant woman contracts rubella, it can cause severe harm to the fetus, including death or birth defects.
The immunization for rubella is contained in the MMR vaccination, which is recommended for children between the ages of 12 months and 15 months and a second dose around the time they start kindergarten.
“We just want people to check the status for all their vaccines,” Sander said. “These diseases can happen.”
Rubella is spread through droplets from coughing and sneezing, Sander said. People with rubella are contagious for seven days before the rash appears and seven days after it disappears. The rash lasts two to three days, she said.
Since 2001, fewer than 25 cases of rubella have been reported in the United States each year, according to the CDC. Twelve cases were reported last year.
Minnesota last reported one case of rubella in 2000. There also were five cases in 1999, according to the Health Department.
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