UCLA employee may have spread measles at campus food court
A UCLA employee who contracted measles may have exposed students and others to the highly contagious disease, according to campus officials.
A university employee was diagnosed with measles on Monday. But health officials say he may have infected students when he ate lunch at the Court of Sciences Student Center food court between 9 and 11:30 a.m. on July 2 and 3, according to health officials.
Considered one of the most contagious diseases in the world, measles spreads through coughing and sneezing, but can linger in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves the room. Anyone who was at the food court at that time who has not been vaccinated may be at risk of contracting measles.
In an unrelated case in April, a UCLA student with measles prompted the quarantine of hundreds of students on campus.
This week, UCLA officials notified employees who may have been exposed. If those employees do not have proof of immunity to measles, they may not come to work until it can be proved that they don’t have measles, according to a statement from UCLA Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael J. Beck.
“I know there is concern about measles, particularly among the very small percentage of our community who have not been vaccinated,” Beck said. “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.”
The news comes as the country grapples with its worst measles outbreak in decades. As of Monday, 1,109 people nationwide had been diagnosed with measles this year, compared with 372 people in all 2018.
There have been 55 recorded cases of measles in California this year so far. Officials urge anyone who has not been vaccinated to get immunized.
“For those who are not protected, measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that initially causes fever, cough, red, watery eyes, and, finally, a rash,” L.A. County health officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a statement on Tuesday. “The MMR immunization is a very effective measure to protect yourself and to prevent the unintentional spread of this potentially serious infection to others.”
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