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Measles cases found after Super Bowl festivities
February 9th, 2012
03:33 PM ET

Measles cases found after Super Bowl festivities

Indiana state officials say they have confirmed two cases of measles and two probable cases of the highly infectious disease.

Last Friday, one of the confirmed patients from Hamilton County, Indiana, visited a free outdoor festival called the Super Bowl Village, a three-block area of downtown Indianapolis which was turned into an open area for games, concerts and activities.

The patient did not go inside the Indiana Convention Center where there were more NFL-related activities taking place.

Measles is a respiratory disease which is very contagious.  It spreads through sneezes, coughs and droplets in the air.  Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and a rash all over the body. Infection can be prevented if you are vaccinated. 

About 200,000 people visited the Super Bowl Village on Friday, according to CNN affiliate WISH-TV.  The patient felt sick after leaving the Superbowl Village and went to see a doctor, the state’s health commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin told the station.  

Larkin said that the doctor was suspicious of the symptoms and took a blood test, which confirmed the measles diagnosis. Larkin also said the fact that the patient never went to the indoor Superbowl activities is a good thing: "When you're outdoors with the wind blowing and so forth, it's a less contagious atmosphere."

The health departments in New York and Massachusetts have also been notified to make fans who traveled to the game to be aware of possible risks.

The use of the measles vaccine had nearly eliminated the disease in the United States. However, there has been a resurgence of measles recently as some parents have decided not to vaccinate their children.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one or two out of  1,000 children with measles will die, and worldwide 200,000 people die each year from the disease. 

Measles hit a 15-year high in 2011 in the United States, according to the to the CDC. There were 220 cases last year, compared with the average 60 to 70 cases per year. The CDC found that 87% of the people infected didn't get the vaccine, while the other 13% were too young to get it.

For more information about measles, please visit CDC Measles.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.