Fears over measles super-spreader event at Kentucky religious event

Officials have issued a health warning over a potential measles super-spreader event at a religious ceremony in Kentucky.

Around 20,000 people may have been exposed to the extremely infectious disease at the 10-day worship event in the city of Wilmore.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health chiefs revealed that an unvaccinated attendee tested positive for measles days after the event last month.

They are now warning all unvaccinated attendees or anyone who develops symptoms to quarantine for up to 21 days and contact their doctor.

‘Large numbers of people that attended the gathering from across Kentucky and from other states and countries may have been exposed,’ the CDC told DailyMail.com.

The Asbury Revival is a massive church event that drew in thousands of people from around the world in February

 The Asbury Revival is a massive church event that drew in thousands of people from around the world in February

Around 20,000 people may have been exposed to measles at a massive all-day prayer event in Wilmore, Kentucky, local officials and the CDC confirmed

Around 20,000 people may have been exposed to measles at a massive all-day prayer event in Wilmore, Kentucky, local officials and the CDC confirmed

The infected person – who has not bee identified – attended a 24-hour prayer event at Asbury University in Wilmore on February 18.

The Christian ‘Asbury Revival’ event gained viral attention on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, with some videos earning hundreds-of-thousands of views.

Social media videos show a packed event with some even worshipping outside as the inner area of the church became filled.

The CDC spokesperson added: ‘An estimated 20,000 people attended the gathering on the days that the patient attended. 

‘The Kentucky Department for Public Health is actively working with CDC and clinicians to help identify if there are additional cases.

‘Community transmission of measles in connection with this event is possible, particularly among unvaccinated or under-vaccinated individuals.’ 

Measles is one of the most contagious virus known to man. Each infected person can pass it onto up to 18 others.

The highly effective vaccines which first emerged in 1963 have largely subsided the virus’s spread throughout the developed world. 

But the disease is highly preventable, with a 97 percent efficacy against measles.

This outbreak could be tied to COVID-19 lockdowns and other pandemic measures that disrupted medical treatment for the past two years.

The World Health Organization warned in July that the pandemic had created a global ‘backslide’ in vaccinations across the world.

Officials now fear that rare but dangerous viruses like measles could make a resurgence across the world.

Jessamine County Health Department – which oversees Wilmore – and Asbury University did not immediately reply to a DailyMail.com request for comment. 

‘If you may have been exposed at Asbury University’s campus and develop any symptoms, whether previously vaccinated or unvaccinated, please isolate yourself from others and call your medical provider, urgent care, or emergency department to seek testing,’ Dr Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Health Department, said in a statement.

‘Please do not arrive at a health care facility without advance notice so that others will not be exposed.’ 

The state health department told DailyMail.com that no additional cases of measles had been linked to this event. 

The event began on February 8 and ran until the 19th. It was hosted by Asbury University, a small private Christian school of around 1,600 students. Prayers are led by students.

Many of those students attended, along with tens of thousands of people who traveled from nearby communities, out-of-state or even from abroad.

It is unclear where the infected person is from. Asbury University, like many US schools, requires students to be vaccinated for measles in order to attend.

Wilmore is a small US city with a population of just 6,000. The northern Kentucky city is 60 miles southeast of Louisville and 80 miles south of Cincinnati.

The small town was reportedly overwhelmed by the influx of worshippers, even causing some events to be shut down early to keep things in control. 

The US suffered 131 cases of measles in 2022

The US suffered 131 cases of measles in 2022

Jessamine county does not require public school students to receive the measles-mumps-and-rubella (MMR) vaccine to attend.

State health officials told DailyMail.com that more than 90 percent of students in Jessamine county have received it.

The MMR vaccine is a three-in-one shot that prevents three potentially deadly conditions.

A child is meant to get their first jab between the ages of 12 and 15 months. The first shot alone is 93 percent effective against infection.

They are to receive a second dose between the ages of four to six, boosting their protection from the virus to 97 percent.

Many of the infected children did not receive the shot, though, leaving them vulnerable to the disease.

The first symptoms of measles will often erupt a week after a person is infected.

A sick person will often experience a high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes.

In the following days, the virus causes a rash that can spread all over a person’s face, neck, arms, legs and feet.

Unlike many other rashes, the spots caused by measles usually do not hurt or itch.

Asbury University, which has a student body of less than 1,700, is located about half an hour outside of Lexington and drew international and national attention after students refused to leave following a chapel service on Feb 8

Word quickly spread of the daily worship as videos were rapidly uploaded to social media platforms including TikTok and Instagram

Asbury University, which has a student body of less than 1,700, is located about half an hour outside of Lexington and drew international and national attention after students refused to leave following a chapel service on Feb 8

No other attendees to The Asbury Revival have since tested positive for measles, officials told DailyMail.com

No other attendees to The Asbury Revival have since tested positive for measles, officials told DailyMail.com

One attendee at the massive event tested positive for measles. It is unclear who the unvaccinated person was, and where they had traveled to the even from

 One attendee at the massive event tested positive for measles. It is unclear who the unvaccinated person was, and where they had traveled to the even from

An infected person may also experience the development of tiny white spots. Young children, the immunocompromised and the elderly are most at risk.

Measles first rose to prominence in the US in the early 1900s, being declared by federal officials as a nationally notifiable disease in 1912.

The virus killed around 6,000 Americans each year before scientists first developed a vaccine in 1963.

Since then, rates of measles in the US have cratered as successful vaccine campaigns have all but removed it as a regular threat to Americans.

In 2000, US officials declared the virus eliminated from the US population.

It does arise in America on occasion, though. While 90 percent of the population is vaccinated by age two, the CDC reports, the remaining unvaccinated people are vulnerable.

In 2019, the largest measles outbreak in decades struck the nation, with 1,274 confirmed infections across 31 states.

In late 2022, 80 Columbus, Ohio-area children were infected in a measles outbreak linked to local daycares.

The CDC has since declared the outbreak over. 

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