LOS ANGELES – Quarantine at two universities in Los Angeles covers more than 200 students and staff who may have been exposed to measles and either have not been vaccinated or can not confirm they are immune.
The order issued in conjunction with the University of California and the State University of Calla comes as a number of cases of measles nationwide hit the 25-year-old high. The order requires the affected people to stay at home, avoid contact with others, and notify authorities if they develop measles symptoms.
The virus is highly infectious, spreads through coughing and sneezing.
"A person with a confirmed measles case can expose thousands of people to measles," said county health director Dr Barbara Ferrer at a press conference Thursday.
Los Angeles County Public Health Offices quarantined from 24 to 48 hours until evidence of immunity was established, officials say. Some people may need to be quarantined for up to a week.
The measles in the United States have risen to the highest level in 25 years, closing 700 cases this year in re-emergence, largely attributed to misinformation that parents turn against vaccines. About three quarters of the disease this year is in the state of New York.
UCLA student, who was diagnosed with measles, probably laid 500 people on a campus of measles in early April, according to a school announcement.
From Thursday afternoon, 79 of those students and faculty members did not provide medical records showing that they are immune to measles, the university said.
"Please make sure that we have the resources we need for prevention and treatment, and that we are working very closely with local public health officials on this issue," Chancellor Jen Bloc told UCLA in a statement.
Meanwhile, in Cal State, a person infected with measles has visited a library and possibly encountered hundreds of employees, some of whom were students. One hundred and fifty-six of them were unable to submit their immunization documents on Thursday afternoon, the state of Kahl said in a statement.
Health workers have found that "there is no known current risk associated with measles in the library at this time," officials said.
A small occurrence of measles occurred in Los Angeles County, including five confirmed cases associated with traveling overseas. The state registered 38 cases of chickenpox on Thursday; there were 11 around the same time last year, said Dr Karen Smith, director of the Public Health Department in California.
The state usually sees less than a dozen cases a year, she said.
This year, cases in California are spread across 11 countries and attack patients from 5 months to 55 years.
More than 76% of patients have not been vaccinated or have not received the recommended two doses of the vaccine, said Smith. Fourteen of the infected traveled abroad, including the Philippines, Thailand, India and Ukraine.
Smallpox in most people cause fever, runny nose, cough, and rash throughout the body. However, a small proportion of those who are infected may have complications such as pneumonia and a dangerous brain swelling.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend vaccination for all over a year, except for people who have had this disease as children. Those who have had measles are immune.
The vaccine, which became available in the 1960s, was considered safe and effective, and because of this, the syphilis were declared for everyone, but were eliminated in the United States in 2000.
The accompanying printer John Antatchak contributed to this report.
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Christopher Weber, Associated Press