Thousands of SF Transit Riders Warned of Measles Exposure

The Bay Area Rapid Transit agency and Contra Costa Health Services say anyone who used the transit system from Tuesday, Feb. 4 to Friday, Feb. 7 during the morning commute hours and late evening may have been exposed to measles.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit agency and Contra Costa Health Services say anyone who used the transit system from Tuesday, Feb. 4 to Friday, Feb. 7 during the morning commute hours and late evening may have been exposed to measles because an infected UC Berkeley student commuted to classes on BART from the student's home in Contra Costa County. BART cars circulate throughout the transit system and the measles virus can live in the air for up to two hours, prompting the alert Feb. 13 to all riders.

A person who has not been vaccinated and has not previously had measles could be infected, according to the health agency. Health officials urge any rider who shows symptoms of measles to contact their health care provider immediately.

"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."

Measles symptoms begin one to three weeks after exposure. They 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.

The person infected with measles traveled between the El Cerrito del Norte and Downtown Berkeley stations Feb. 4 through Feb. 7 between 8-10 a.m. and in the afternoon/evening commute hours.

BART's trains do not operate 24 hours. The agency's posted alert about the potential measles exposure said BART uses industrial-strength disinfectant to clean its trains at the end of the line during the day and each night.

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