Nearly 300 quarantined in measles scare at 2 Los Angeles universities

Nearly 300 students and employees at two Los Angeles universities were under quarantine Thursday after possible exposure to measles, a disease declared eliminated nearly two decades ago but which has seen a resurgence, the schools said.

The University of California, Los Angeles said that 76 students and six faculty members remained in quarantine Thursday afternoon after a student with measles attended class three days this month.

UCLA said that the last possible exposure at the university was April 9, and the highest risk for developing measles has already passed.

UCLA said that the quarantine was expected to last between 24 and 48 hours for most, but a few may need to remain in quarantine for up to seven days.

California State University, Los Angeles also reported that a potential measles exposure may have occurred in a library April 11, and a spokesman said that 127 staff employees and 71 student employees were sent home under quarantine orders.

In all, 280 from the universities were under quarantine Thursday.

"I know there is concern about measles, particularly among the very small percentage of our community who have not been vaccinated," UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block said in a statement. "Please be assured that we have the resources we need for prevention and treatment, and that we are working very closely with local public health officials on the matter."

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Treatment, preventative care and vaccinations for measles across the world
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Treatment, preventative care and vaccinations for measles across the world
A child receives a vaccination against measles by a family physician on April 16, 2018 in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. Measles still claims young lives in Romania, where nearly 40 children have died in an outbreak that many blame on parents being misled by scare stories that vaccinating them is dangerous. Some 12,000 people have contracted measles since late 2016 in the European Union's second-poorest country, 46 of them died. Among the dead, 39 were children under the age of three who had not been vaccinated, making Romania one of the worst affected countries in the ongoing measles outbreak in Europe. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
A family physician prepares a measles vaccine during a consultation on April 16, 2018 in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. - Measles still claims young lives in Romania, where nearly 40 children have died in an outbreak that many blame on parents being misled by scare stories that vaccinating them is dangerous. Some 12,000 people have contracted measles since late 2016 in the European Union's second-poorest country, 46 of them died. Among the dead, 39 were children under the age of three who had not been vaccinated, making Romania one of the worst affected countries in the ongoing measles outbreak in Europe. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
A nurse was seen vaccinating school children at her school in Lhokseumawe, August 4, 2018, Aceh, Indonesia. Vaccination Measles-Rubella (MR) for Indonesian school children is part of the Indonesian government's health program to provide physical immunity from two dangerous diseases, Rubella and Measles in Indonesian children. (Photo by Fachrul Reza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Artists wearing superhero costumes comfort an elementary student while she receives a German Measles, also known as Rubella, vaccination in Pekanbaru, Riau province on August 1, 2018 as part of the Indonesian governments health program to combat childhood diseases. (Photo by WAHYUDI / AFP) (Photo credit should read WAHYUDI/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - APRIL 17 : A Syrian child is vaccinated during the measles campaign in Al-Bab district of Aleppo, Syria on April 17, 2018. Kids fled from Eastern Ghouta's Douma after Assad regime forces' suspected chemical attack on April 7, 2018 receive measles vaccine Al-Bab district of Aleppo. (Photo by Omer Alven/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Venezuelan woman is vaccinated against measles in Cucuta, Colombia, at the international brigde Simon Bolivar on the border with Venezuela, on March 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Schneyder Mendoza (Photo credit should read SCHNEYDER MENDOZA/AFP/Getty Images)
Venezuelan, Yan Manuel, receives a free measles vaccine given by a volunteer, after showing his identity card at the Pacaraima border control, Roraima State, Brazil August 19, 2018. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
A member of the Free Revolutionary Police carries out an inspection on a measles vaccine in the southern Idlib countryside September 17, 2014. Fifteen children died after being vaccinated against measles in northern Syria, resulting in the programme being halted, aid workers said on Wednesday, a tragedy likely to damage trust in health services in opposition-held areas. The Free Revolutionary Police is a newly launched unarmed police movement that works in areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army to solve the day-to-day problems in Idlib, the group said. Picture taken September 17, 2014. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT HEALTH)
A girl receives anti-measles vaccination drops at a health centre in BASECO compound in Tondo, Manila September 3, 2014. Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on September 1, 2014 between 11 to 13 million people in the country are at risk from measles, polio and rubella (German measles), and asked the public to cooperate in eradicating the preventable diseases, during Monday's launch of a mass national vaccination campaign against measles and polio, reported local media. REUTERS/Erik De Castro (PHILIPPINES - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY)
A vial of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and an information sheet is seen at Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH)
Rowan Walters, aged four, is held by her mother as she given an MMR injection at the Paediatric Outpatients department at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, south Wales April 6, 2013. Following an increase in the number of confirmed cases of a measles in south Wales, parents in the area were urged to vaccinate their children, and hospitals in the region opened drop-in clinics on Saturday, local media reported. REUTERS/Rebecca Naden (BRITAIN - Tags: SOCIETY HEALTH)
A health worker in Ciudad Juarez at the Mexican border crossing with El Paso, Texas, hands out leaflets to passing motorists and people as part of a measles prevention programme, February 16, 2015. California public health officials have confirmed three more cases of measles in an outbreak that began in late December, bringing to 113 the total number of people believed to have been infected in the state. Health officials in Arizona, where seven cases of measles have been documented, said the outbreak would likely be considered over in that state if no further infections were reported over the weekend. Across the United States, more than 150 people have been diagnosed with measles, many of them linked to an outbreak that authorities believe began when an infected person from out of the country visited Disneyland in late December. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez (MEXICO - Tags: SOCIETY HEALTH IMMIGRATION)
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Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, thanks to vaccines developed beginning in the 1960s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the disease has made a resurgence, and on Wednesday the CDC said that there are more cases in the U.S. today than there have been since it was declared eliminated in 2000. The agency reported 695 cases in 22 states, an outbreak that CDC Director Robert Redfield called "deeply troubling." Most of the measles cases are in unvaccinated children, although some adults may be at risk.

The CDC urged health care providers to assure patients that the vaccine is safe and effective and said "vaccination is the best way to protect against measles."

UCLA said that a student with measles attended classes on campus on April 2, 4 and 9 while contagious and that more than 500 students, faculty and staff who may have been exposed were notified.

Most of those were cleared, the university said, but Wednesday, 119 students and eight faculty members were quarantined by the county health department until their immunity could be established. As of Thursday afternoon, some of those had been released and 76 students and six faculty members remained under quarantine, the university said.

The university said it has arranged for students to be cared for at UCLA while under quarantine.

"We expect the trend to continue as more people provide proof of immunization or are shown by tests to have immunity to measles," UCLA said.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that affects the respiratory system and can be spread by coughing and sneezing.

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Measles
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Measles
UNDATED: In this handout from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a thin-section transmission electron micrograph (TEM) reveales the ultrastructural appearance of a single virus particle, or 'virion', of measles virus. in this undated image. Measles outbreaks have been reported throughout the U.S., with the latest reported February 5, 2015 at a daycare in suburban Chicago where as many as five children under the age of one have been infected. (Photo by CDC via Getty Images)
MILL VALLEY, CA - JANUARY 26: In this photo illustration, vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are displayed on a counter at a Walgreens Pharmacy on January 26, 2015 in Mill Valley, California. An outbreak of measles in California has grown to 68 cases with 48 of the cases being linked to people who had visited Disneyland. Nine additional cases have been reported in five states and Mexico. (Photo by Illustration Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 28: Miami Children's Hospital pediatrician Dr. Amanda Porro, M.D prepares to administer a measles vaccination to a child at the Miami Children's Hospital on January 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. A recent outbreak of measles has some doctors encouraging vaccination as the best way to prevent measles and its spread. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
1972: In this handout from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a histopathology of measles pneumonia is seen in this microscope image from 1972. Measles outbreaks have been reported throughout the U.S., with the latest reported February 5, 2015 at a daycare in suburban Chicago where as many as five children under the age of one have been infected. (Photo by CDC via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 28: In this photo illustration, a bottle containing a measles vaccine is seen at the Miami Children's Hospital on January 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. A recent outbreak of measles has some doctors encouraging vaccination as the best way to prevent measles and its spread. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A girl receives anti-measles vaccination drops at a health centre in BASECO compound in Tondo, Manila September 3, 2014. Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on September 1, 2014 between 11 to 13 million people in the country are at risk from measles, polio and rubella (German measles), and asked the public to cooperate in eradicating the preventable diseases, during Monday's launch of a mass national vaccination campaign against measles and polio, reported local media. REUTERS/Erik De Castro (PHILIPPINES - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY)
A measles vaccine is seen at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015. Lawmakers in several U.S. states are backing proposals to make it harder for parents to opt out of school vaccinations based on personal beliefs, as health officials fight a growing measles outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in more than a dozen states. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH POLITICS)
A girl looks on as a health officer injects her with measles vaccine at a school in Yemen's central province of Marib January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Ali Owidha
ACEH, INDONESIA - NOVEMBER 14: Students receive immunizations against TD (Tetanus Toxoid) and DT (Diphtheria Tetanus) during the implementation of the School Children Immunization Month in Lhokseumawe, on November 14, 2016 in Aceh, Indonesia. TD immunization shots (Tetanus Toxoid) and DT (diphtheria tetanus) to prevent measles, diphtheria and tetanus, which aims to improve the health of students in Indonesia. PHOTOGRAPH BY Fachrul Reza / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Fachrul Reza / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
AMAZON, MANAUS, AMAZONAS STATE, BRAZIL - 2016/03/16: Measles, a highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus is an airborne disease which spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of those infected - red rash which usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body is the typical symptom. Fundacao de Medicina Tropical do Amazonas ( Amazon Tropical Medicine Foundation ), Manaus city, Brazil. (Photo by Ricardo Funari/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statementWednesday that "measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease" and he said that vaccines are safe and highly effective.

Before the vaccine was developed, there were around 450 to 500 deaths each year from measles, the CDC said. The last death from measles in the U.S. was reported in 2015, the CDC said in 2018.

"With a safe and effective vaccine that protects against measles, the suffering we are seeing is avoidable," Azar said.

There are five measles cases among Los Angeles County residents, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Monday. All those cases are linked to international travel, it said.

The department said Thursday that it had also confirmed that one person with measles flew in and out of Los Angeles International Airport while infectious. That person arrived at a remote gate in the Tom Bradley International Terminal and left at Terminal 3 on April 18, the health department said.

The health department said in the statement there is no known current risk of measles at LAX, and people who were possibly exposed on the flights have been contacted. People who are free of symptoms for more than 21 days are considered no longer at risk, it said.

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