20,000 people may have been exposed to measles during religious gatherings in Kentucky, CDC says


About 20,000 people who attended a large religious gathering in Kentucky last month may have been exposed to measles, and undervaccinated attendees should be quarantined and monitored for symptoms for 21 days, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. .A.

The CDC alert was sent to clinicians and public health officials after the Kentucky Department of Public Health identified a confirmed case of measles in an unvaccinated person on February 24. The individual had a history of recent international travel and attended a large religious gathering on February 17 and 18 at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, as previously reported by CNN.

According to the CDC, an estimated 20,000 people attended the rally from Kentucky, other US states and other countries on those days, and an unspecified number may have been exposed.

“If you attended the Asbury University gathering on February 17 or 18 and are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated against measles, you should self-quarantine for 21 days after your last exposure and monitor yourself for symptoms of measles, so you don’t spread measles to others,” the CDC said in the health advisory.

CDC officials also recommend that unvaccinated people who attended the gathering talk to their health care provider about getting vaccinated after the quarantine is over, as two doses of the MMR vaccine are about 97% effective in preventing measles.

For people who think they have measles or have been exposed to someone with the virus, the CDC recommends isolating themselves from others and calling to notify a health care facility before arriving to be tested.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that begins with symptoms typical of many respiratory diseases followed by a characteristic rash that usually appears on the face and spreads downward three to five days after the onset of symptoms.

The CDC recommends that clinicians be alert for measles cases in anyone with compatible symptoms who attended the February 17 or 18 Kentucky event, had contact with an attendee, or recently traveled abroad, especially to countries with ongoing outbreaks.

“With measles vaccination rates declining worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, measles outbreaks are occurring in all World Health Organization (WHO) regions,” the CDC said in the health advisory.

In the United States, measles cases increased from 49 in 2021 to 121 in 2022, all among children who were not fully vaccinated, including cases in Minnesota and Ohio.

CDC officials say the advisory response to Kentucky’s case underscores the “importance of early recognition, diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

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