An outbreak of measles at an international sporting event with airborne transmission in a domed stadium

Kristen R. Ehresmann, Craig W. Hedberg, Mary Beth Grimm, Cheryl A. Norton, Kristine L. Macdonald, Michael T. Osterholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

An outbreak of measles occurred in conjunction with the International Special Olympics Games in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area during July 1991. Sixteen outbreak-associated cases of measles were reported among US residents from seven states, with 9 additional cases resulting from subsequent transmission. The primary case was a track and field athlete from Argentina. Transmission occurred in three settings: the opening ceremonies in a domed stadium, track and field events, and first aid stations. Eight secondary cases had their only potential exposure at the opening ceremonies; 2 of these cases were unrelated spectators sitting in the same section of the upper deck ≥ 30.5 m above the athlete’s entrance. These findings demonstrate that the risk of indigenous measles transmission associated with international events in the United States must be considered, even in areas without recent measles activity. Moreover, the dynamic airborne transmission of measles illustrates the potential for transmission in the absence of a recognized exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-683
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume171
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1995

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