(Reuters) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday it was issuing a health alert advisory to notify clinics and public health officials to be watchful after a case of measles was confirmed at a large gathering in Kentucky.
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 infected, the individual attended a large religious gathering on Feb. 17–18, with an estimated 20,000 people there from other states and countries, the national agency said.
Measles is one of the most contagious human viruses and is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. However, it requires 95% vaccine coverage to prevent outbreaks among populations.
The CDC said doctors should consider measles as a diagnosis with anyone with clinically compatible symptoms. The agency also asked physicians to recommend measles, mumps and rubella shots for patients who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.
The advisory also recommends healthcare professionals to immediately notify local or state health departments about any suspected case of measles to ensure rapid testing following the CDC’s testing recommendations.
In November, the CDC and the World Health Organization said that there is now an imminent threat of measles spreading in various regions globally, as COVID-19 led to a steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease.
(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)