The Indiana State Department of Health sent out a statement Feb. 3, two days before the New England Patriots and the New York Giants squared off for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. The bulletin, which advised "Hoosiers and out-of-town guests" to "Practice Good Health Defense for a Safe Super Bowl Sunday," offered tips about healthful eating, drinking in moderation, keeping warm and storing party foods properly to avoid food-borne illnesses.
Less than a week later, the department circulated another release that touched on a Super Bowl health hazard few had considered: measles, and the importance of vaccination.
State health officials reported two confirmed and two probable cases of the respiratory ailment. One of infected individuals had attended pre-Super Bowl celebrations in downtown Indianapolis on Feb. 3 -- raising the alarming possibility that others at the event who were not up-to-date on their vaccinations or who had not had measles in the past could have been exposed to the virus as well.
That's a concern because measles is highly contagious, said Dr. Edgar Marcuse, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle who is based at Seattle Children's Hospital.