Bringing in travelers from afar, or even just other cities, has proved that anyone is vulnerable to diseases during large events. And what’s bigger than the Super Bowl? Unfortunately for this year’s host state, Indiana is in the midst of battling a major measles outbreak after the big game between the Giants and the Patriots.
The Associated Press says that even though Indiana has vaccination rates that exceed the national average, state health officials have confirmed 13 cases of measles in this month alone. Authorities say the spread of the infection leads back to the Super Bowl Village on Feb. 3 and two people who visited it together.
The outbreak seems to be confined to two counties so far, but officials are reaching out to New York and Massachusetts’ departments of health to warn them that their fans may have taken measles home with them.
This isn’t the first time a large sporting event, with their masses of people all coughing and spitting on each other, became a breeding ground for the spread of infection:
In 1991, a track and field runner from Argentina participating in the Special Olympics in Minneapolis unknowingly started an outbreak of measles, infecting spectators, athletes and event organizers.
While 13 cases of measles might not seem like a lot, there are usually only around 50 instances of the infection per year, as 90 percent of the population is vaccinated against it. Another abnormal year for it was 2011, when 223 cases popped up due to Americans traveling abroad.
Indiana measles outbreak illustrates disease risk [Associated Press]