20,000 Individuals at Religious Revival Possibly Exposed to Measles

On March 1, the CDC announced that approximately 20,000 individuals who attended a large religious revival at Asbury University may have been infected with measles.

To alert the nation, the CDC declared a health caution about the situation on March 3. The religious revival, which took place at a Christian college in Wilmore, Kentucky, occurred in February. A week later, the Kentucky Department for Public Health reported a case of measles in an unvaccinated person.

"Community transmission of measles in connection with this event is possible, particularly among unvaccinated or under-vaccinated individuals," says CDC spokesperson Scott Pauley.

To prevent a measles outbreak, the university is not intending to hold any revivals or large gatherings at the moment. Asbury University students are required to have received two doses of their measles vaccine, commonly referred to as MMR vaccine, to enroll in the school. Since the gathering is not only for university students, there is a great possibility that many attendees are not vaccinated against measles.

​​"Recent data released from CDC indicates that MMR vaccine coverage among Kentucky kindergarteners is among the lowest in the nation," shares the Kentucky Department for Public Health in a statement.

To ensure safety in the community, the Jessamine County Health Department said on March 1 it will organize a measles vaccine clinic.

The CDC encourages every unvaccinated person who attended the revival on February 17 or 18 to monitor their symptoms and receive medical health. Individuals who were feasibly exposed and are not vaccinated are recommended to quarantine for 21 days and track potential symptoms of measles. The CDC announced that as of February 28, 2023, three cases of measles had been announced in two regions, and in 2022, 121 cases of measles were reported in six different areas.

The agency says measles is "an immediately notifiable disease," and should quickly be reported (within 24 hours) by the state health department to the CDC through the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS).

What is measles?

Measles is an acute respiratory infection that can easily spread through coughs, sneezes, or infectious droplets. It is easily spreadable and can cause fatal symptoms in certain individuals. There is a two-dose MMR vaccine available to prevent infection. Some common symptoms of measles include a high fever, rashes, coughing, runny nose, and white spots in the mouth. If you've been fully vaccinated or already had measles, you're unlikely to get sick.

If infected, what precautions should we take?

It is essential to rest and stay hydrated to take care of measles. If you have a high fever, taking paracetamol or ibuprofen may help. Most symptoms will diminish in about a week; if not, you should seek medical help. Since measles is highly transmittable, it is crucial to stay home and prevent the further spread of the infection.

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