Canadians who attended a big religious gathering at a university within the U.S. state of Kentucky last month could have been exposed to measles, Health Canada has warned.
In a series of tweets Saturday, the national health agency said individuals who attended the gathering at Asbury University between Feb. 17-18 and weren’t updated with their measles vaccination should isolate themselves.
“In case you attended and aren’t up thus far together with your measles vaccinations, you must quarantine at home and phone your local public health department to hunt additional advice,” Health Canada said.
On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health alert advisory to notify clinics and public health officials to be watchful after a case of measles was confirmed on the Kentucky gathering, dubbed the Asbury revival, where an estimated 20,000 people were present from other states and countries.
On Feb. 24, the Kentucky Department for Public Health identified a confirmed case of measles in an unvaccinated individual with a history of recent international travel, the CDC said.
“While infectious, the person attended a big religious gathering on February 17–18, 2023, at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky,” the U.S. national agency added.
Measles is probably the most contagious human viruses and is nearly entirely preventable through vaccination.
Nevertheless, it requires 95 per cent vaccine coverage to forestall outbreaks amongst populations.
Symptoms can appear one to 3 weeks after exposure and initial signs include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, Health Canada says on its website.
These are followed by a red rash that begins three to seven days after the symptoms onset.
“In case you develop symptoms, isolate at home and call your health care provider,” Health Canada said on Twitter. “Don’t go to a health care facility or office without calling ahead in order that measles just isn’t spread to others.”
Measles may end up in serious illness and in some cases, death. Very young children, pregnant people and immunocompromised individuals are particularly vulnerable to serious illness.
In November, the CDC and the World Health Organization said that there’s now an imminent threat of measles spreading in various regions globally, as COVID-19 led to a gentle decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease.
— With files from Reuters
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