Cal State LA measles quarantine grows to 656

Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser interim health officer from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health briefs the media outside the Department of Public Health in Los Angeles on Feb. 4 2015 with a general update of the measles outbreak in Los Angele

Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser interim health officer from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health briefs the media outside the Department of Public Health in Los Angeles on Feb. 4 2015 with a general update of the measles outbreak in Los Angele

Hundreds of students and staff at two Los Angeles universities, including UCLA, have been placed under quarantine because they may have been exposed to measles and either have not been vaccinated or can not verify that they are immune, officials said Thursday.

Possible measles exposure forced California State University, Los Angeles, to send home 198 staffers and student employees of a library this week.

The LA campuses of the University of California and California State University imposed the quarantine after they became aware of people infected with measles who had potentially exposed hundreds. Nationwide, the government has counted almost 700 measles cases, roughly three-quarters of them in NY state, which had among the largest and longest-lasting outbreaks since the disease was all but eliminated in 2000.

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

Health officials were also reaching out to UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles to offer free vaccines to students without means.

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 into direct contact or shares germs by touching the same objects or surfaces.

CSU, a sprawling public university with 23 campuses, has enforced similar guidelines in a bid to mitigate the risk of its thousands of students and staff catching measles.

The potential exposure at UCLA occurred at two buildings on April 2, 4 and 9.

At UCLA, one "student diagnosed with measles possibly exposed 500 people to measles", the LA Times adds. They were also provided with detailed information about treatment and prevention.

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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.

Call State-L.A.is primarily a commuter school, while many UCLA students live on campus.

But the law, banning personal or philosophical reasons to skip a vaccine, came in too late for the state's teenage and young adult population, and will not have touched the millions of out-of-state students who come to LA to study.

"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.

The university did not say how many people were affected by the quarantine.

According to a statement on Thursday from the LA County Department of Public Health, up to 100 students at UCLA have been ordered to stay in their residence for 21 days.

Meanwhile, state public health officials on Thursday urged Californians to make sure they have been vaccinated against measles before traveling, especially to global locations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the USA now has the highest number of measles cases in a year since measles were eliminated in 2000, with 695 measles cases reported in 22 states.

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