BART Alerts Riders: Watch for Signs of Measles Infection

The transit agency said some riders may have been exposed because a Contra Costa County resident with measles commuted from home to work in San Francisco while infectious last week.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the San Francisco Bay Area's rail transit agency, says some of its riders may have been exposed to measles last week because a Contra Costa County resident with measles commuted from home to work in San Francisco while infectious. "Although the risk of contracting measles by being exposed on BART is low, Bay Area residents should be aware of the situation," BART said in a Feb. 11 news release.

BART in 2014 had some of its highest ridership numbers ever, with about 400,000 rides on an average weekday and projecting it would rise to 500,000 within five years.

Its Feb. 11 notice said Contra Costa Public Health officials confirmed this week the county's first measles case since the statewide outbreak began at Disneyland in December. The notice correctly states that most people aren't at risk because they have been vaccinated against measles, but anyone who is not vaccinated is at risk to be infected if exposed to the virus. It says BART uses industrial-strength disinfectant to clean its trains at the end of the line during the day and each night.

"The person traveled between the Lafayette Station and Montgomery Street Station during the morning and evening commutes from 6 to 8 am and 7 to 9 pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, February 4-6," the notice states. "Contra Costa Public Health and the San Francisco Department of Public Health are working together on investigating the person's movements and notifying people who were in close contact. The person's employer is cooperating fully with the San Francisco Health Department to ensure the safety of any employees who may have been exposed. The person also spent time at the E & O Kitchen and Bar (314 Sutter Street in San Francisco) on Wednesday evening, February 4th. Patrons who visited this restaurant between 5:30 pm and 7 pm may have been exposed to measles. E & O is fully cooperating with the San Francisco Department of Public Health."

The measles virus can stay in the air for up to two hours, and BART cars circulate throughout the Bay Area, so anyone who used the transit system during that time could have been exposed to the virus. "Measles is circulating in the Bay Area, and we don't know yet where this person was exposed," said Erika Jenssen, Communicable Disease Program chief with Contra Costa Public Health. "The ongoing measles outbreak in California highlights the need for people to be vaccinated, and this is just another example of how interconnected our region is and how important it is for everyone to be up to date on their immunizations."

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