CDC: 20,000 May Have Been Exposed to Measles at Asbury University Revival

Kentucky health officials said the unvaccinated individual attended the revival on Feb. 18, potentially exposing 20,000 people.

CDC: 20,000 May Have Been Exposed to Measles at Asbury University Revival

Photo: tashatuvango, Adobe Stock

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people who participated in a Christian revival at Asbury University last month may have been exposed to measles after an attendee was diagnosed with the virus.

Asbury students spontaneously remained in Hughes Auditorium to continue worship following a regularly-scheduled chapel service on Feb. 8, reports Inside Higher Ed. The round-the-clock prayer service lasted more than two weeks after word spread through social media, drawing tens of thousands of people to the Kentucky campus.

Making this the third case of measles in the state of Kentucky in the last three months, health officials said the unvaccinated individual attended the revival on Feb. 18, potentially exposing 20,000 people, according to WSAZ.

“Community transmission of measles in connection with this event is possible, particularly among unvaccinated or under-vaccinated individuals,” CDC spokesperson Scott Pauley wrote in a statement.

Pauley said the agency is urging unvaccinated people who may have been exposed to contact a doctor and to get the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The CDC is also urging doctors to “be on high alert for measles symptoms” among people who attended the gathering and is actively working with Kentucky authorities to search for additional cases.

CDC data shows the vaccine is about 96% effective after receiving two doses. However, WKYT reports only 86.5% of kindergarten-aged children in Kentucky have received it. The national average is over 93%.

“I’ve been practicing for about 40 years, and in the last 35, I don’t know if I’ve seen a case of measles,” Kentucky-based family practice physician Jeff Foxx told WSAZ. “Maybe I can count them on my one hand.”

According to Mayo Clinic, measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus and is primarily spread by air droplets. Symptoms appear about 10-14 days after exposure and can include high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. A measles rash can also appear three to five days after the first symptoms. It is considered among the most highly transmittable diseases.

Students at Asbury are required to receive the two-dose MMR vaccine.

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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