Measles outbreak sparks quarantine orders at 2 Los Angeles universities

Why measles is making a comeback almost 20 years after it was declared eliminated in the US

The CDC says people in 22 states have the virus, six states have multiple cases; David Lee Miller reports.

Some students and employees at two Los Angeles universities have been quarantined due to possible contact with the measles virus, official said Thursday.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and California State University, Los Angeles both announced the orders this week.

UCLA officials learned from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) on Monday that a student “had contracted the measles,” and had been on campus while contagious, the university said in a statement Wednesday.

Since then, UCLA has reached out to other potentially affected individuals, officials said.

“Most of those individuals have since been cleared, but we are still awaiting medical records from 119 students and eight faculty members to determine whether they are immune to the measles,” the statement said. “As a result, LACDPH has decided to quarantine those individuals until their immunity is determined.”

The quarantine is expected to last for roughly 24 to 48 hours “until their proof of immunity is established,” however some quarantines may last for up to a week, officials said.

Separately, California State University, Los Angeles issued an update Thursday about a “potential exposure” at the library between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on April 11.

As a result, health officials requested that “Cal State LA employees” who may have been exposed “to provide immunization records or be checked for immunity” and refrain from going to work.

“These employees, including student workers, have been sent home under quarantine orders and told to stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible,” the update said.

Seventy-one students and 127 staff members are quarantined at California State University, Los Angeles, school officials said, according to The Associated Press.

The quarantine orders come as a small outbreak of measles hit Los Angeles County with at least five confirmed cases linked to overseas travel. The state recorded 38 measles cases as of Thursday, versus 11 around the same time last year, Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, told the Associated Press.

Measles in the United States has reportedly climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year in a resurgence largely attributed to misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines. Roughly three-quarters of this year's illnesses in the U.S. have been in New York state.

The vaccine, which became available in the 1960s, is considered safe and highly effective, and because of it, measles was declared all but eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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