20K Could Have Been Exposed to Measles at Religious Revival

CDC says unvaccinated, infectious person was at Kentucky prayer event
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2023 9:44 AM CST

A religious revival in Kentucky may have gone viral in more ways than one. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a person who attended the prayer event at Asbury University had measles and around 20,000 people could have been exposed, the Guardian reports. The Kentucky Health Department says people who were at the revival on Feb. 18 are being urged "to quarantine for 21 days and to seek immunization with the measles vaccine, which is safe and effective," the Courier-Journal reports. Department commissioner Steven Stack says that to reduce exposure, affected people should notify health facilities before they arrive. Authorities say the person who had measles was unvaccinated and contagious.

The person with the confirmed case of measles is a resident of Jessamine County, the county the university is in, but "large numbers of people that attended the gathering from across Kentucky and from other states and countries may have been exposed," the CDC says. An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people flocked to the Christian college during the revival, which began when students stayed after the end of a Feb. 8 chapel service and more showed up, with word spreading through posts on TikTok and Instagram, CBS reports. The event was moved off-campus on Feb. 20.

The CDC says doctors have been urged to be on "high alert" for measles symptoms. "Community transmission of measles in connection with this event is possible, particularly among unvaccinated or under-vaccinated individuals," says agency spokesperson Scott Pauley. The agency says measles is so contagious that around 90% of people not protected by vaccination or previous exposure can catch it when near an infected person. This is the third measles case reported in Kentucky in three months, the Courier-Journal reports. According to CDC data, "MMR vaccine coverage among Kentucky kindergarteners is among the lowest in the nation," the state health department said in a statement. (Read more measles stories.)

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