Quarantines at 2 LA universities amid U.S. measles outbreak


In 2015, California outlawed all but medical exemptions after an outbreak of measles linked to the Disneyland amusement park.

USA public health officials have blamed the nationwide outbreak, which coincides with a global rise in the prevalence of the disease, in part on the spread of misinformation about the safety of vaccines.

Quarantines were announced this week at UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles in response to possible exposure to measles. NPR's Nathan Rott has more.

At the University of California, Los Angeles, 76 students and six faculty are still at risk after a contagious student attended classes.

ANNIE CUI: Maybe I should be but, (laughter) I have other things to worry about. "You need to self identify", she said. So I think what seems - is that they have the situation being addressed in a reasonable way that you would address in these kinds of things.

The quarantine orders apply only to those who may have come in contact with the virus and can not show documented proof of vaccinations. And although they're not overly concerned, campus officials and health professionals are.

"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", the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said. While it is nearly a two-fold increase since the previous week, the number pales in comparison with the tree-digit figures from NY state.

ROBERT LOPEZ: Those are folks who were unable to provide documentation of vaccination or who have not been vaccinated.

Library 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 university said.

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"One person with a confirmed measles case can expose thousands of people to measles", the county's public health department director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference Thursday.

It was determined that 500 people might have been exposed to the disease while the student was roaming the campuses unaware of the condition.

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.

KAREN SMITH: You have a lot of people in very close contact to one another, and measles is extremely good at spreading in those circumstances.

California had recorded 38 measles cases as of Thursday; there were 11 around the same time previous year, said Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health.

The lack of a national public health entity to track all vaccinations, and a vigorous nationwide campaign to counter the pockets of the unvaccinated, poses the necessity of freeing the health of the population from the grips of the for-profit health system.

The so-called "Wakefield generation" has lower rates of vaccination than other age groups, the Times reported.

The latest case was confirmed in a person who arrived on April 18, was in the arrival area of Tom Bradley International Terminal that afternoon, and departed from Gate 37A, Terminal 3 later that night.