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Unvaccinated Students Banned From High School Because Of Measles Scare

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Two dozen unvaccinated Orange County high school students have been banned from campus for three weeks after one of their classmates got measles, in an effort to stop the highly-contagious disease from spreading.

Earlier this month, Huntington Beach High School sent a letter to 24 of its students telling them that since they didn't have any documentation of being vaccinated against measles they wouldn't be able to return to school until Jan. 29, reported KPCC. The student who contracted measles last attended the school on Jan. 8 and also received a letter.

This comes on the heels of a measles outbreak linked to folks who visited the Disneyland theme parks in Anaheim in December. There are now 52 measles cases in total, with 46 of them in California. Orange County has the most cases, with 16 people; however, since six of those cases were contracted outside of the Disneyland parks, officials are now convinced the disease is spreading.

Measles is a respiratory disease that spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. A person who's contracted measles can be contagious up to four days before and after the rash begins to show. The symptoms for this disease include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash covering the entire body, and will appear about a week to two weeks after being infected. There's no treatment for measles, but most people usually recover after a few weeks.

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While health officials declared that measles were pretty much wiped out from the U.S. in 2000 due to vaccinations, the number of measles cases have ticked up again over the last year, mostly from folks who weren't vaccinated.

Even though the state requires that students get vaccinated for measles, parents who are opposed to vaccines for whatever reason can sign a personal belief waiver to sidestep that requirement, according to the OC Register. However, health officials have the right to require unvaccinated people to be quarantined through state law.

Not everyone is happy. One parent at the high school told NBC Los Angeles, "I'm not a doctor so I can't say, but that seems extreme to me. I mean, I had the measles and I think I was out for three days."

Last week, a South Pasadena graduate student said she was refusing to follow health officials' orders that she should be quarantined after her sister contracted measles after visiting the theme parks. Ylsa Tellez, 26, who said she feels healthy, said authorities threatened that she could get a misdemeanor or get sent to jail if she didn't follow their orders.