Fourteen babies younger than a year old were under voluntary quarantine Tuesday after an infant at a Santa Monica High child-care center was diagnosed with measles.
The California measles outbreak poses a particular danger to this vulnerable population. The first MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot is not administered until a child is 12 to 15 months old.
The infant room at the Samohi Infant/Toddler Center -- on the campus of Santa Monica High School -- was closed until further notice by state health officials on Monday because a child younger than 12 months old was diagnosed with measles, said Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.
Pinsker said Tuesday that the district is monitoring the condition of the 14 infants, who include the baby with the diagnosed case of measles. She said she’d heard of no new cases or symptoms among the rest of the children.
FOR THE RECORD:
Measles outbreak: In the Feb. 3 California section, an article about the closure of a child-care center at Santa Monica High School due to a case of measles said that before reentry, children in the toddler group would have to provide a document from a doctor that they’d been immunized. In fact, before reentry, children in the toddler group will have to provide a document from a doctor that shows they have had their blood checked to ensure that immunizations they have had will provide immunity to measles.
The district learned about the measles case on Saturday and contacted parents over the weekend about the center’s closure. State health officials then recommended the babies be kept at home, away from any public place, for 21 days.
“The district is asking for these families to abide by this public health recommendation,” Pinsker said.
The measles case is the second one confirmed on the high school campus in recent weeks. The first case involved a school baseball coach.
The children at the high school’s day-care center range in age from 6 weeks to 3 years. Most are related to school staffers; three are the children of students.
The toddler room, which hosts 12 children, will be closed through Thursday with a tentative reopening planned for Friday, Pinsker said. The toddlers who do not have waivers for vaccines will need to have proof from a doctor that a blood test has been done to ensure full immunization to measles.
Among students at the high school, 7% have waivers, for personal or religious beliefs or for medical reasons, that excuse them from the state-required MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.
There are 11.5% students district-wide with waivers, a decrease from 14.8% the year before, Pinsker said.
“We are seeing more incoming kindergartners whose parents have chosen to immunize their students,” Pinsker said. “And some of our current students have gone off waiver.”
About a week and a half ago, a freshman baseball coach was diagnosed with the virus. He is a walk-on coach and not a teacher or staff member of the high school, Pinsker said. It was determined the coach had come into contact with only about 70 baseball players, all of whom had received their immunizations.
In recent weeks, the district has sent out communications to families encouraging them to get their children immunized if they haven’t already, Pinsker said.
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