A measles quarantine at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been greatly reduced.
Spokesman Tod Tamberg says one student is still quarantined on campus Friday. He says fewer than 50 students and faculty members have isolated themselves at their houses off campus while officials determine if they’ve been vaccinated or have immunity.
The school was notified Monday that a student with a confirmed case of measles had been on campus this month. Initially, more than 500 students, staff and faculty were notified they may have been exposed.
Most were cleared, and public health officials quarantined 127 people Wednesday. That number was rapidly reduced as people established proof of immunity.
Possible measles exposure forced California State University, Los Angeles, to send home 198 staffers and student employees of a library this week.
The order issued in connection with the University of California and Cal State University comes as the number of measles cases nationwide has hit a 25-year high . The order requires that affected people stay home, avoid contact with others and notify authorities if they develop measles symptoms.
The virus is highly contagious, spread by coughing and sneezing.
“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.
Los Angeles County public health officials issued quarantines of 24 to 48 hours until proof of immunity is established, officials said. Some people may need to be quarantined for up to a week.
Measles in the United States has climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year in a resurgence largely attributed to misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines. Roughly three-quarters of this year’s illnesses have been in New York state.
A UCLA student who was diagnosed with measles possibly exposed 500 people on campus to measles in early April, according to a statement from the school.
“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,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.
Meanwhile at Cal State, a person infected with measles visited a library and possibly encountered hundreds of employees, some of whom were students.
Health officials determined that there is “no known current risk related to measles at the library at this time,” officials said.
A small outbreak of measles has broken out in Los Angeles County involving five confirmed cases linked to overseas travel. The state recorded 38 measles cases as of Thursday; there were 11 around the same time last year, said Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health.
The state typically sees fewer than two dozen cases a year, she said.
This year, California’s cases stretch across 11 counties and affect patients from 5 months old to 55.
More than 76% of patients were not vaccinated or did not receive the recommended two doses of vaccine, Smith said. Fourteen of those infected had traveled overseas to countries including Philippines, Thailand, India and Ukraine.
Measles in most people causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. However, a small fraction of those infected can have complications such as pneumonia and a dangerous swelling of the brain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for everyone over a year old, except for people who had the disease as children. Those who have had measles are immune.
The vaccine, which became available in the 1960s, is considered safe and effective, and because of it, measles was declared all but eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.
Associated Press Writer John Antczak contributed to this report.