Is Kentucky Protected from Measles
Thousands of people living in the State of Kentucky and around the U.S. have been calmly waiting about three weeks for new news regarding measles patients in 2023.
These apprehensive people included over ten thousand school students near Louisville and about twenty thousand college-aged adults who recently attended an event southwest of Lexington.
Unlike the Columbus, Ohio, measles outbreak that impacted 85 children in late 2022, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) and the U.S. CDC's CDCHAN-00487 have only confirmed three local measles patients as of March 3, 2023.
"Anyone who attended the revival on February 18, 2023, at Asbury University may have been exposed to measles," said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the KDPH, in a related press release.
According to the U.S. CDC, the virus is transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes.
The measles virus can remain infectious in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area.
And infected people are contagious from 4 days before the rash starts through 4 days afterward.
Since measles is a vaccine-preventable disease, KDPH promotes vaccination in communities with low uptake.
Recent data released by CDC indicate that MMR vaccine coverage among Kentucky kindergarteners is among the lowest in the nation.
For example, the Jefferson County Public Schools began conducting measles vaccination clinics at high schools near Louisville for about 10,000 unvaccinated students in early 2023.
The good news is that there have not been any new measles cases reported in Kentucky. This indicates Kentucky's recent outbreak may have subsided as of March 23, 2023.
However, the Asbury University event included collegians from around the U.S.
With Spring Break underway and the NCAA basketball sweet-sixteen games this weekend, followed by the men's Final Four tournament in Houston, Texas, the CDC is monitoring reports for new measles cases.
The CDC encourages everyone to be protected against this highly contagious, acute viral illness by getting a measles vaccination.
Various measles vaccines are offered by health clinics and pharmacies in the U.S.