CNN wrote about this outbreak as did many other places like the Washington Post, etc. It does appear Wakefield and other anti-vaccine activists played a role in this outbreak by spreading fear and misinformation about the MMR and vaccines causing autism.
Interestingly, as CNN points out,
Three years later, a University of Minnesota research project investigated whether there was a higher prevalence of autism in Somali children who live in Minneapolis versus non-Somali children in Minneapolis. The project included data on children who were 7 to 9 years old in 2010.
The researchers found Somali and white children in Minneapolis to be equally likely to be identified with autism, and both groups were more likely to be identified with autism than non-Somali black and Hispanic children.
They also explain the role of Wakefield and anti-vaccine activists in the outbreak:
"At that point, the anti-vaccine groups just really started targeting the community," she said.
Then, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination rates began to plummet.
At the same time, local anti-vaccination activists started to hold meetings in the community, he said.
"So, by about 2008, we started to see the vaccine rates drop as the word got through the Somali community that autism was linked to measles vaccination," he said. "In the years since then, Andrew Wakefield has actually been brought in several times to the Somali community here in Minnesota to actually give presentations supporting this information. ... His work has been retracted."
Washington Post article (Wakefield is quoted in this one) https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.44e0308441ce
MMR vaccination rates among U.S.-born children of Somali descent used to be higher than among other children in Minnesota. But the rates plummeted from 92 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2014, state health department data shows, well below the threshold of 92 to 94 percent needed to protect a community against measles.
Wakefield, a British activist who now lives in Texas, visited Minneapolis at least three times in 2010 and 2011 to meet privately with Somali parents of autistic children, according to local anti-vaccine activists.
As parents sought to learn more about the disorder, they came across websites of anti-
vaccine groups. And activists from those groups started showing up at community health meetings and distributing pamphlets, recalled Lynn Bahta, a longtime state health department nurse who has worked with Somali nurses to counter MMR vaccine resistance within the community.
At one 2011 gathering featuring Wakefield, Bahta recalled, an armed guard barred her, other public health officials and reporters from attending.
“The Somalis had decided themselves that they were particularly concerned,” Wakefield said last week. “I was responding to that.”
He maintained that he bears no fault for what is happening within the community. “I don’t feel responsible at all,” he said.