Bay Area health officials are notifying the public about a possible measles exposure after a UC Berkeley student identified with measles attended class and commuted to school on BART from home in Contra Costa.
According to a press release on the Contra Costa Health Services website, public health officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon that it was likely that the student - who lives off-campus in Contra Costa County and was not vaccinated - was infected with measles during a recent trip to Asia.
The student spent time in Berkeley and used BART several times before he was diagnosed.
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The student, who is in his 20s, rode BART between El Cerrito's Del Norte station and Downtown Berkeley, according to officials.
Health officials are urging anyone exhibiting measles symptoms to seek medical attention immediately.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease whose symptoms include high fever, runny nose, coughing and watery red eyes.
"It spreads through the air, when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Fortunately, the measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection," said Dr. Janet Berreman, health officer for the City of Berkeley.
Those who have been vaccinated or have had measles before are unlikely to catch it, according to health officials. But the disease poses a risk to those who have not been vaccinated.
The measles virus is transmitted through the air and can stay in the air for up to two hours. According to Contra Costa County health officials, because BART cars circulate throughout the Bay Area, anyone who rode the transit system from Feb. 4 to Feb 7 during the morning commute and late evening was potentially exposed to measles.
Health officials at Contra Costa Health Services, the California Department of Public Health, City of Berkeley Public Health and UC Berkeley are currently investigating the student’s movements.
They have started notifying people who were in close contact with the student.
The agencies have not identified any other measles infections related to this case so far.
For more information about measles, visit cchealth.org/measles. Contra Costa County residents can also call 925-313-6740 or 211. City of Berkeley residents can call 510-981-5300. Additional information is available at cdc.gov/measles/index.html.