CDC: 20,000 revival attendees in Kentucky exposed to measles

An unvaccinated person potentially exposed 20,000 attendees to measles at a Christian revival last month at Asbury University.

Asbury University revival

Health officials say thousands of attendees of a religious revival at a Kentucky university might have been exposed to measles. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kentucky Health officials said an unvaccinated and contagious person was in attendance Feb. 17 and 18. The CDC estimates that 20,000 people were in attendance at the Asbury University revival in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Officials are recommending that anyone 12 months or older who is unvaccinated against measles get the vaccination. 

"Measles is an acute, highly contagious viral disease which can spread quickly in high-risk, unvaccinated populations," said Dr. Steve Davis, Jessamine County medical director.

Vaccine access for kids in rural America is a struggle
Vaccine access for kids in rural America is a struggle

Vaccine access for kids in rural America is a struggle

Vaccines for kids in rural areas are few and far between, with many pediatricians not even administering them.


The CDC said it is working with local health officials to determine whether anyone else became infected. 

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

According to the CDC, measles commonly causes a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Those can lead to more severe complications, including pneumonia, brain damage and blindness. 

From 2010 through 2021, U.S. vaccination rates largely held steady for children at 24 months. As of 2021, 90.8% of children were vaccinated against measles.