The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health alert Friday about a potential measles outbreak linked to the recent religious revival at Kentucky’s Asbury University.
The CDC was first informed by the Kentucky Department for Public Health. On Feb. 24, Kentucky health officials identified a case of measles in an unvaccinated individual with recent international travel.
On Feb. 17-18, the infected person visited the then-ongoing religious revival at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. Over 20,000 people were present on campus at the same time as the infected person.
“Anyone who attended the revival on Feb. 18 may have been exposed to measles. Attendees who are unvaccinated are encouraged to quarantine for 21 days and to seek immunization with the measles vaccine, which is safe and effective,” KDPH Commissioner Steven Stack said.
The revival lasted through Feb. 23, the National Collegiate Day of Prayer.
A decline in child measles vaccinations has revived the disease in the United States, with cases jumping from 49 in 2021 to 122 in 2022, all among unvaccinated children. Specific outbreaks occurred in Ohio and Minnesota.
As of Tuesday, there have been three cases of measles in the U.S. in 2023, including the Asbury exposure case and another Kentucky case reported in January. The latter case was initially thought to be connected to the 2022 Ohio measles outbreak, but there was no connection.
The effectiveness of the measles vaccine in the general population requires most people to be vaccinated.
Some Kentuckians, including those who visited the revival, may be at a higher risk of exposure from unvaccinated children. CDC data shows only around 86.5% of kindergarten-aged Kentuckians have been vaccinated for measles, far below the estimated national vaccination rate of 93.5%.
• Brad Matthews can be reached at email@example.com.
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