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Public Health Collaborates with UCLA and Cal State LA to Prevent Spread of Measles

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Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is working closely with health officials at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and California State University Los Angeles (Cal State LA) to institute a series of actions to limit the spread of measles based on its assessment of the previously identified measles cases. The goals are to build awareness among students, faculty, and staff about the risks of measles after a potential exposure to measles, to confirm immunity to measles for those exposed, to provide instructions on what to do if you think you were exposed, and to offer measles immunizations to the broader university community.

In this situation, for those exposed to a confirmed case of measles who could not provide evidence of two doses of measles immunizations or lab verified immunity to measles, a Health Officer Order for quarantine is being issued. Generally, a Health Officer Order (“Order”) mandates the exposed person to remain at their residence, to notify Public Health if they develop symptoms of measles, and to avoid contact with others until the end of their quarantine period or until they provide evidence of immunity. Quarantine for measles can be up to 21 days from the date of last exposure, at which time the exposed person is no longer a risk for developing the disease and spreading measles to others.

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.

Measles is highly contagious. It can stay in the air for up to two hours after a sick person coughs or sneezes and can also stay on surfaces for many hours. About 90% of people who are exposed and not immune to measles become ill 7-21 days after exposure.

Schools are considered high-risk settings for exposure due to potentially frequent and prolonged contact. In accordance with the February 1, 2016, California Department of Public Health Immunization and Screening recommendations for college students, UCLA and CSULA require two doses of Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) immunization OR positive titer (laboratory evidence of immunity to disease) for incoming students. Two doses of measles immunization are about 97% effective. Thus, getting immunized is the best way to prevent getting and spreading measles. Immunization protects not only the person who receives the immunization but also reduces the chance that measles will spread to family members, coworkers, and friends.

Public Health will continue to communicate with schools, health care providers, health plans, local governments, and elected officials to provide updates on the measles outbreak and actions they can take to help prevent the spread of measles and support the countywide response.

If a person doesn’t know their immune status, Public Health recommends they talk with their health care provider.

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