Measles case in Kentucky linked to spiritual revival event


Health officials are warning that people who attended the weeklong spiritual revival event at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Feb. 18 may have been exposed to measles.

On Friday, the Kentucky Department for Public Health announced a confirmed case of measles in a Jessamine County resident who had not been immunized against the disease. The person attended the so-called “Asbury revival” last Saturday, which took place southwest of Lexington, according to a release from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

No further information about the person was released “due to privacy concerns,” but Dr. Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack is encouraging those who have not been vaccinated to quarantine for 21 days and then be immunized.

The department said they are actively working with Asbury University, Jessamine County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the matter. CNN has contacted Asbury University for comment.

For more than three weeks, worshipers from all over the country flew to the impromptu event and lined up outside the university’s main chapel for the opportunity to join the singing, praying and discussion inside, as CNN previously reported. The event began Feb. 8 and ended Feb. 23, according to CNN affiliate WTVQ, and it hosted 50,000 to 70,000 people, CNN affiliate WKYT reported.

Measles is caused by a highly contagious respiratory virus that spreads through the air. The Kentucky Department of Public Health said early symptoms of measles are typical of many upper respiratory illnesses and progress to the characteristic rash three to five days after symptoms begin. According to the CDC, it can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. About one in five unvaccinated people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized, the CDC says.

The disease can be prevented with the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, according to the CDC. Two doses of the vaccine are about 97% effective in preventing measles.

“If you may have been exposed on the Asbury University campus and develop symptoms, whether previously vaccinated or unvaccinated, isolate yourself from others and call your healthcare provider, emergency room or emergency department to get tested, said Dr. stack. “Please do not come to a healthcare facility without prior notice so that others are not exposed.”

This is the third case of measles confirmed in Kentucky in the past three months. The first case was reported in December 2022 and was related to an outbreak in Ohio, while the second case was reported in Powell County. The cases were under investigation and neither posed a threat to public health, the Kentucky Department of Public Health said.

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