Katia Hetter of CNN writes that a gathering of 20,000 people at Wilmore, Kentucky’s Asbury University may have been exposed to measles at a February event. One unvaccinated attendee tested positive for the virus.
The widely available measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine has reduced measles to only a few cases every year. The federal government strongly recommended a 21-day quarantine for other exposed attendees and reiterated the importance of getting an MMR.
Up to 20,000 people who attended a religious gathering at a college in Wilmore, Kentucky, in February could have been exposed to a person later diagnosed with measles.
On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to clinicians and public health officials about the confirmed case of measles in an individual present at the gathering who had not been vaccinated against the disease.
The CDC also recommended that people who are unvaccinated receive the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Reading this news, people may have questions about measles, including its symptoms, infection outcomes and who is most at risk. They may also want to know what makes measles so contagious, what has been the cause of recent outbreaks and how effective the MMR vaccine is.
The measles virus is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected individuals. If someone is infected and coughs or sneezes, droplets can land on you and infect you. These droplets can land on surfaces, and if you touch the surface and then touch your nose or mouth, that could infect you, too.
Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after infection. They include a high fever, runny nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and small, painless white spots on the inside of the mouth. A few days after these symptoms begin, many individuals develop a characteristic rash — flat red spots that generally start on the face and then spread downward over the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet. The spots can become joined together as they spread and can be accompanied by a high fever.