Are US Open Tennis Fans Protected From Measles?
New York measles outbreaks create health risks when attending large gatherings
When the US Open 2019 tennis tournament begins competition in New York City on August 26, 2019, players such as Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer will compete for a share of the $57 million in prize money.
But, will the 800,000 US Open patrons visiting Flushing Meadows, Queens from around the world be protected from infectious diseases when visiting America’s measles hotspot?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the state of New York has confirmed about 75 percent of all measles cases in the USA during 2019.
As of August 15, 2019, there have been 1,203 measles cases in the USA during 2019.
To increase awareness of the ongoing measles risk, the CDC previously issued a worldwide Level 1 Travel Alert on June 10, 2019.
This Alert says ‘unvaccinated travelers infected with measles overseas have brought the disease back to the United States, causing outbreaks among unvaccinated people in their local communities.’
Furthermore, the CDC says ‘events that draw huge crowds can come with unique risks to travelers, including increasing the spread of infectious diseases, such as the measles virus.’
Measles is one of the easiest viruses to catch.
It lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Also, the measles virus can live for up to 2-hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed.
"The worldwide measles outbreaks are not just a concern in other countries. With football season just around the corner, large gatherings of people make the chances of spreading the disease much greater," explained Crockett Tidwell, RPh, CDE, Clinical Services Manager, Vaccine Specialist with United Supermarkets Pharmacy.
"All it takes is one infected person in the crowd. Making sure that you are fully vaccinated is the best way to stay safe," continued Tidwell.
Up to 90 percent of the people close to an infected person who are not immune will also become infected, says the CDC. And, infected people can spread measles to others for 4-days after the rash appears.
During 2019, there were 2 outstanding examples for well-planned, large, international events to actions to protect their patrons:
- Indianapolis 500 - offered onsite vaccination clinics for 200,000 patrons.
- Hajj 2019 - required proof of immunizations for certain diseases.
Conversely, there were several incidences during August 2019 that exposed attendees to the measles virus:
- Attendees at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix may have exposed others to the disease.
- A person from New Zealand was infectious with the measles virus when visiting Disney California Adventure Park, Universal Studios Hollywood, and other popular tourist destinations.
Since the measles outbreaks continue to be reported in tennis-friendly cities such as London and Paris, the CDC offers this advice to protect yourself when attending large events.
- Before your trip, check your destination for health risks.
- Consult with a travel medicine provider at least 1-month before your trip to allow time to receive vaccinations, medicines, and advice that you may need.
- Make sure you are up-to-date on all of your routine vaccines, including the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR).
And, the CDC updated it’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travelers on May 13, 2019, which are as follows:
- Infants (6 through 11 months old): 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as the first dose in the routine childhood vaccination series,
- People 12 months old or older, with no evidence of immunity or no written documentation of any doses: 2 doses of MMR vaccine before travel. The 2 doses must be given 28 days apart,
- People 12 months old or older, who have written documentation of 1 dose and no other evidence of immunity: 1 additional dose before travel, at least 28 days after the previous dose.
Measles travel news
- Canadian Jewish Community Vaccinates 350 Children to Stop Measles Outbreak
- Is Wimbledon Requiring Measles Immunity From Patrons?
- Three Measles Hotspots To Avoid This Summer
As a general notice, the CDC says ‘any vaccine can cause a side effect, which should be reported to a healthcare provider, or to the CDC.’