A measles quarantine was ordered Thursday at two public universities in Los Angeles in an effort to try to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.
The order was issued at UCLA and Cal State LA for students and staff exposed to a confirmed case of measles and who can not prove they have been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease.
Those students and university employees, who number more than 100, were ordered to stay at home, avoid contact with others and notify public health officials if they develop symptoms
“Both colleges are helping with the implementation of quarantine orders and determining the best way to support students who must be quarantined and living on campus,” said the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.
Most Measles Cases Since 2000
The news comes at a time when measles cases in the United States have surpassed the highest number recorded since the disease was declared eliminated throughout the country in 2000.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States. UU (CDC, for its acronym in English) confirmed this milestone. He counted 695 cases in 22 states this year.
The statement from health officials in Los Angeles says the measures at the two universities were being implemented “to raise awareness among students, faculty and staff about the risks of measles after possible exposure to the disease.”
“Measles quarantine can be up to 21 days from the date of the last exposure, at which time the exposed person is no longer at risk of developing the disease and spreading it to other people,” the statement said.
A Highly Contagious Disease
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes or if someone comes in direct contact or shares germs by touching the same objects or surfaces. The symptoms of measles can include fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, and a rash of red spots.
Measles can remain in the air until two hours after a sick person coughs or sneezes and can remain on the surface for many hours, which makes a university campus especially susceptible to the spread of the disease due to the high volume of the disease. people who enter and leave buildings.
In a letter to students and professors, UCLA president Gene Block said the university was notified on Monday that a student had contracted measles. The student attended classes in the Franz and Boelter classrooms for three days, on April 2, 4 and 9, while he was in the contagion phase, Block said.
“Upon learning of this incident, UCLA immediately identified and notified more than 500 students, faculty, and staff that the student may have been in contact with or may have been exposed to,” said Block. “They were also provided with detailed information about treatment and prevention.”
Most people have been declared free of the disease, the chancellor said, “but we are still waiting for the medical records of 119 students and eight faculty members to determine if they are immune to measles.”
“We hope that those notified will be quarantined for approximately 24 to 48 hours until their immunity test is established,” Block said. “Some may need to be quarantined for up to seven days. We have arranged for those who live on campus to be served at UCLA while in quarantine. ”
At Cal State LA, school officials said there may have been measles exposure at the Library North Library on April 11, between 11 am and 3 pm.
Library employees, including student workers, “have been sent home under quarantine orders and have been told to stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible,” the university said.
The university did not say how many people were affected by the quarantine.
“The Department of Public Health has determined that at this time there is no known risk related to measles in the library,” said the university.
Are You Vaccinated?
Meanwhile, on Thursday, state public health officials urged Californians to make sure they had been vaccinated against measles before traveling, especially to international destinations.
The number of cases of measles in California has more than doubled in the last week, from 15 to 38, said the state Department of Public Health. There were 11 cases in total in the same period last year.
Of the 2019 cases, 14 were from international travelers, 22 cases were transmitted by travelers to people in California and two cases are of unknown origin, the agency said.
Health officials also said that a passenger who flew to and from Los Angeles International Airport on April 18 was confirmed with a case of measles, the fourth at the airport.
“Vaccination is the only way to ensure that you and your family members do not get measles,” said Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health. “Many countries are currently experiencing widespread measles activity. Make sure you and your family are fully immunized before traveling internationally.”
Phyllis Reddon is a general assignment reporter at Rise Media. She has covered sports, entertainment and many other beats in her journalism career, and has lived in New York for more than 6 years. Phyllis has appeared periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) Yahoo News,, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com.