The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health alert to notify doctors and health officials that a person who contracted measles attended the Asbury revival meeting in Kentucky last month.
The agency said Friday that the Kentucky Department for Public Health identified a confirmed case of measles in an unvaccinated person who attended the religious gathering on February 17 to 18 at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. People from Kentucky, other states and other countries attended the event.
The person potentially exposed an estimated 20,000 people to the infectious virus, according to the CDC. The infected individual recently traveled internationally.
According to Asbury University, the person did not begin developing symptoms until after attending the event at the private Christian institution.
But the CDC says people infected with measles are contagious four days before measles’ telltale rash develops, and state health officials report that the person was contagious during their attendance.
The CDC estimates that 20,000 people attended the event during the time the infected person was there, although it is unclear just how many people may have been exposed. The exposure has the potential to result in an outbreak among people at the event who were unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, according to the CDC.
People who attended the event on Feb. 17 or 18 and are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated against measles are advised to quarantine for 21 days after they were potentially exposed.
“Measles is extremely contagious and can cause life-threatening illness,” the CDC wrote in its advisory. “Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk. An unvaccinated person can get measles when traveling abroad or in the U.S.”
Kentucky has one of the lowest measles vaccination rates in the country, with only around 87% of kindergartners receiving two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine in the 2021-2022 school year, according to CDC data.