Measles Update

Dear colleagues,

Below is an update with new information about the measles case that was shared with you last week.

We are pleased to report that the UCI student with measles has been cleared from infectious status by the local Health Department. We have also been informed that a second, more specific molecular test confirmed that the infant treated at the UCI Medical Center emergency department on Sunday did not have measles after all – the initial antibody test is considered a false-positive result.

Those experiencing measles symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. The Student Health Center is working closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency to deliver the appropriate level of care, diagnostic screenings, and special accommodations for patients who are awaiting lab results. Faculty and staff with symptoms who were in the areas of exposure at the designated times should contact our occupational health partner, Newport Urgent Care, at (949) 752-6300. Faculty and staff with additional questions and concerns should contact the Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management office in Human Resources at wcdm@uci.edu.

Some of our colleagues have asked for basic information about measles, below is a simple FAQ. Additionally, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to address questions about measles.

What is measles?
Measles is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Before the measles vaccine became available, measles was a common childhood disease.

  • Symptoms include: rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.

How do people get measles?
Measles is spread from person to person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus is released into the air and may enter another person’s body through the nose, mouth or throat. Measles may be transmitted from four days before through four days after rash onset.

What do I do if I think I have measles?
If you are starting to have the symptoms listed above, you should call the Newport Urgent Care at (949) 752-6300 or your doctor immediately. You will be examined, blood may be drawn for lab tests, and you will be asked to stay home for four days after you develop a rash. Staying home and away from others is an important way to prevent spreading measles to other people. You should also:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Standard household disinfectants will readily kill the measles virus.

If a person is exposed, does that mean they will get sick or infected with measles?
An exposure occurs when a person is in the same space (e.g. office, classroom) with someone who has measles, or occupies this space for up to one hour after the infected person has left. People are less likely to get sick with measles if they have been appropriately vaccinated, and are able to provide proof of immunity.

What is proof of immunity?
Most of the people who are sick were not vaccinated against measles. Please consult your medical provider for proof of immunity (protection against measles) which includes at least one of the following:

  • Documentation of measles vaccination (MMR)
  • Laboratory evidence of immunity (blood test)

Is the campus providing blood tests (titres) for faculty or staff who are not sure of their measles vaccination status?
If you are unsure if you have been vaccinated against measles, please consult with your health care provider.

Is my infant child at risk from my potentially being exposed to measles?
Unless you were in the areas where the exposure occurred, the likelihood of exposure is incredibly low. Even if you were in proximity to the exposure areas, your individual immunity status, assuming you have been vaccinated against measles, will be the primary protection for your infant, especially if there were several hours between exposure and contact with your child.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact your medical provider or review the CDC recommendations.

Thank you for your support and feedback, and we appreciate your help in ensuring the health of the UCI community.

Sincerely,

Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Distinguished Professor, Department of Materials Science & Engineering

Ramona Agrela
Associate Chancellor of Human Resources