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Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, Assistant to the City Manager, (510) 981-7008

Health officials notifying public about possible exposure after UC Berkeley student identified with measles attended class and used BART from home in Contra Costa

Berkeley, California (Thursday, February 13, 2014) - Some people in the San Francisco Bay Area were potentially exposed to measles last week when a UC Berkeley student identified with measles attended class and commuted to school on BART from home in Contra Costa County.  

Public health officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon that a student who lives off-campus in Contra Costa County and was not vaccinated was likely infected with measles during a recent trip abroad. Before being diagnosed, the student spent time in the Berkeley community including attending classes and using BART on several days.

People who are vaccinated or have had measles before are unlikely to catch measles, even if they had contact with a contagious person. But those who were not previously vaccinated are very likely to catch measles if exposed to the virus.

Health officials urge anyone who shows symptoms of measles to contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Measles symptoms can begin one to three weeks after exposure and can include high fever, runny nose, coughing and watery red eyes. A rash develops on the face and neck two to three days after the fever begins, and spreads down the body. The rash usually lasts five or six days. An infected person is contagious for several days before and after the rash appears.

"Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease," said Dr. Janet Berreman, health officer for the City of Berkeley. "It spreads through the air, when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Fortunately, the measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection."

The measles virus can stay in the air for up to two hours. Because BART cars circulate throughout the Bay Area, anyone who used the transit system from Tuesday, Feb. 4 to Friday, Feb. 7 during the morning commute hours and late evening was potentially exposed to measles.

Contra Costa Health Services, the California Department of Public Health, UC Berkeley and City of Berkeley Public Health are investigating the student's movements and notifying people who were in close contact with the student. So far, the agencies have identified no other measles infections related to this case.

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 also information is available at cdc.gov/measles/index.html or via this Fact Sheet created by Contra Costa County Health Services and the City of Berkeley.


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