LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — A quarantine order has been issued for hundreds of students and staff at two major Los Angeles universities – the University of California, Los Angeles, and California State University Los Angeles — who may have been exposed to measles and either have not been vaccinated or cannot verify that they have immunity.
UCLA reported that, as of Wednesday, there were 119 students and 8 faculty members under quarantine and ordered to avoid contact with others.
Cal State L.A. reported that there were 127 staff and 71 students who had been sent home.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block announced the quarantines in a statement that confirmed one UCLA student has contracted measles.
“We were also informed that the student had attended classes at Franz Hall and Boelter Hall on three days — April 2, 4 and 9 — while contagious. The student did not enter any other buildings while on campus,” Block wrote.
“Dozens” of such orders were issued for students and staff who were in the CSULA Library North on April 11 between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., officials said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health “has determined that there is no known current risk related to measles at the library at this time,” Cal State L.A. wrote in a statement.
Any student who has been exposed to a confirmed case of measles who could not provide evidence of two doses of measles immunizations or lab verified immunity to measles will be issued a health officer order for quarantine, which mandates the exposed person to remain at their residence.
The quarantined person is also required to notify county health officials if they develop symptoms of measles, and to avoid contact with others until the end of their quarantine period or until they provide evidence of immunity.
Quarantine for measles can be up to 21 days from the date of last exposure, at which time the exposed person is no longer a risk for developing the disease and spreading measles to others.
“Both universities are assisting with the implementation of quarantine orders and determining how best to support students who must be quarantined and who live on campus,” LACDPH said in a statement.
There are five confirmed measles cases in total in L.A. County, at least two of whom were not vaccinated, officials said.
The latest case was confirmed in a person who arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on April 18, traveled through the arrival area of Tom Bradley International Terminal that afternoon, and departed from Gate 37A, Terminal 3 later that night.
State health officials say the number of measles cases is up statewide in California this year and much of the increase is linked to overseas travel.
Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, says the state recorded 38 measles cases as of Thursday, versus 11 around the same time last year. She says the state typically sees fewer than two dozen cases a year.
In 2015, there were 131 confirmed cases of measles following an outbreak that originated at Disneyland.
This year, California’s cases stretch across 11 counties – including five new cases in L.A. County – and affect patients from 5 months to 55 years of age.
She says more than 76 percent of patients were not vaccinated or didn’t receive the recommended two doses of vaccine.
Fourteen of those infected had traveled overseas to countries including Philippines, Thailand, India and Ukraine.
Measles symptoms include high fever, a cough and a rash. Health officials are urging people — especially around small children or seniors — to check immunization records. The young and elderly are most susceptible to the virus.