The first case of measles in Contra Costa County since the statewide outbreak in December has prompted health officials to issue a warning to BART riders, who may have been exposed since the infected person commuted to work between the Lafayette Station and San Francisco.
However, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) said Wednesday that the risk of contracting measles by being exposed on BART is low, particularly for those who have been vaccinated or have had measles.
“People who are vaccinated or have had measles before are extremely unlikely to catch measles, even if they had contact with a contagious person,” the agency said in a statement. “However, those who were not previously vaccinated are at high risk if exposed.
The Contra Costa County resident with measles traveled on the BART system during the morning and evening commutes from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week.
Along with riding BART, the person also spent time at the E & O Kitchen and Bar at 314 Sutter St. in San Francisco the evening of Feb. 4, between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Measles can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and the virus can remain in the air for up to two hours, CCHS said. Symptoms can begin one to three weeks after exposure and 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, spreads down the body and typically lasts five or six days. An infected person is contagious for several days before and after the rash appears.
Since December, more than 90 people have been infected with the measles in California.
“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,” said Erika Jenssen, communicable disease program chief with Contra Costa Public Health.
For more information about measles, visit Contra Costa Public Health here. Contra Costa County residents can also call 925-313-6740.