FRANKFORT, Ky. — A measles case has been identified in Kentucky and is linked to the large, two week-long revival on the campus of Asbury University, a Christian school in Wilmore.
On Friday, state health officials said the Jessamine County resident, who is unvaccinated, attended the Kentucky Asbury Revival on Feb. 18.
Thousands of people from all over the country and globe attended the religious service – which captured the attention of social media users worldwide as the revival went viral on TikTok.
The revival began on Feb. 8 and continued through the following two weeks. According to the New York Times, Asbury University estimates that the revival brought more than 50,000 people to Wilmore, a small town with a population of about 6,000.
After the measles case was identified, Asbury University officials said Friday the university is working with Jessamine County Health Department officials to ensure all precautions are taken to mitigate any further spread.
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Here’s what we know.
What is Measles?
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory virus that is spread through the air. A small number of cases are capable of quickly producing epidemics in high risk, unvaccinated populations. Early symptoms of measles are typical of many upper respiratory illnesses:
- Runny nose.
Symptoms then proceed to the characteristic rash three to five days after the symptoms begin.
What is the incubation period for measles?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says patients are considered to be contagious from four days before to four days after the rash appears. Of note, sometimes immunocompromised patients do not develop a rash.
“Anyone who attended the revival on Feb. 18 may have been exposed to measles,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “Attendees who are unvaccinated are encouraged to quarantine for 21 days and to seek immunization with the measles vaccine, which is safe and effective.”
Those who have been exposed to Asbury University’s campus and develop any symptoms, whether previously vaccinated or unvaccinated, should isolate themselves from others and call a medical provider, urgent care, or emergency department to seek testing, he said.
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“Please do not arrive at a health care facility without advance notice so that others will not be exposed,” Stack said.
Three cases of measles have now been confirmed in Kentucky over the last three months.
The first case was reported in December, in Christian County, and it was linked to the outbreak in Ohio.
The second case was reported in January in Powell County and there were no known exposures or connections to the outbreak in Ohio. These two previous cases were thoroughly investigated and neither presented a public health threat.
‘This is alarming’:Childhood vaccination rates drop as measles and polio outbreaks emerge
Vaccine coverage in Kentucky is lower than the national average
In the United States, the first dose of the measles vaccine is routinely administered in combination with the mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) to children at age 12 months through 15 months. A second MMR dose is routinely administered at ages 4 through 6 years.
Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. The Kentucky Department for Public Health is working with local health departments in Kentucky to promote MMR vaccination in communities with low vaccine uptake.
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Recent data released by the CDC indicate that MMR vaccine coverage among Kentucky kindergarteners is among the lowest in the nation and much lower than the Healthy People 2030 target of 95%.
Contributing: Wyatte Grantham-Philips, USA TODAY.