UCLA employee who contracted measles ate at a campus food court twice as outbreak continues to spread across the US
- The unidentified employee ate lunch at the Court of Sciences Student Center food court on July 2 and July 3
- Health officials say anyone who in the building between 9am and 11.30am on either of those days may have been exposed
- This case marks the twelfth in Los Angeles County, most among people who were unvaccinated
- It comes as the CDC announced that 1,109 cases were confirmed across 28 states as of Monday
- If the outbreak continues into October 2019, the US will lose ‘elimination’ status
A University of California Los Angeles employee infected with measles ate at a campus food court twice while contagious, officials have revealed.
The worker, who has not been identified, ate lunch at the Court of Sciences Student Center food court – known as The Bomb Shelter – on July 2 and July 3, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Officials said in a release that anyone who was at the Center between 9am and 11.30am on either day may have been exposed to the highly infectious disease.
This is the twelfth confirmed case in Los Angeles County in 2019 and comes as the largest outbreak of measles in the US since 1992 continues to sweep the nation.
A UCLA employee ate lunch at the Court of Sciences Student Center (pictured) food court on July 2 and July 3, exposing anyone who was in the building between 9am and 11.30am on either of those days
The university is urging anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to make sure their immunization records are up-to-date or to contact their doctor with questions.
‘Campus epidemiologists and top health experts have been working closely with the county public health department to ensure that all who might be affected receive notifications and proper care,’ said UCLA administrative vice chancellor Michael Beck in a statement.
‘Upon learning of the situation, UCLA identified and notified employees who may have come into contact or who may have otherwise been exposed.’
Health officials say this case is not related to the measles exposure on campus in April that resulted in more than 1,000 college students and staff members being told to stay home, reported the Los Angeles Times.
The news of the employee’s illness comes as the US struggles to battle the worst outbreak of measles in years.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 1,109 people have been diagnosed in 2019 across 28 states.
Of those cases, at least 55 have been confirmed in California, 12 being in Los Angeles County.
The health department says that the majority of the cases occurred among people who were unvaccinated.
If the outbreak lasts more than a year – meaning it continues into October 2019 – the US will lose its elimination status and will become a country with ‘active’ measles.
Measles is a highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus.
When someone with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infected droplets are sprayed into the air. Other people can inhale them and are then infected.
Symptoms present themselves between 10 to 14 days after infection and include fever, cough, runny nose and a total-body skin rash.
Once common, the disease is now rare due to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.
The CDC recommends children receive the first dose at 12 to 15 months old and the second dose at four to six years old.
The vaccine is about 97 percent effective. But those who are unvaccinated have a 90 percent chance of catching measles if they breathe the virus in, the CDC says.
Before the measles vaccine was available, more than 500,000 cases were diagnosed in the US every year, with about 500 annual deaths.
The World Health Organization reported that worldwide, there was a 300 percent increase in measles cases in the first three months of 2019 compared with the same time period in 2018.