BART riders potentially exposed to measles

Infected UC Berkeley student rode trains Feb. 4-7

BART riders may have been exposed to measles by a University of California at Berkeley student who traveled on trains in Contra Costa and Alameda counties last week while infected with the disease, officials said Thursday.

Anyone who used the transit system between Tuesday, Feb. 4 and Friday, Feb. 7 may have been exposed to the measles virus and is urged to be on the lookout for possible symptoms, according to Contra Costa Health Services and BART officials. Symptoms usually begin between one to three weeks after exposure.

While the UC Berkeley student only traveled between the El Cerrito del Norte station and the Downtown Berkeley station, the virus is transmitted through the air and can live for up to two hours, potentially exposing people traveling on different train lines at different times, according to Contra Costa Health Services officials.

Riders who exhibit symptoms of measles, including a blotchy rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes, tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth or experience malaise are urged to seek medical attention immediately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The disease usually starts with a rash developing on the face and neck accompanied by a fever.

The rash then spreads down the body and usually lasts five or six days. The infected person is usually contagious for several days before and after the rash appears, according to the CDC.

Contra Costa Health Services, the California Department of Public Health, UC Berkeley and Berkeley Public Health are investigating the student's movements and working to notify people who came into close contact.

BART uses industrial-strength disinfectant to clean its trains at the end of the each day, according to BART officials.

The student was not vaccinated and was likely infected with the disease during a recent trip abroad, according to Contra Costa Health Services officials. Before being diagnosed, the student spent time in the Berkeley community, attended classes on the UC Berkeley campus and used BART on several days.

No other measles infections related to this case have been identified, according to Contra Costa Health Services officials.

Those vaccinated or who have had measles in the past are unlikely to catch the disease, according to the CDC. However, those who have not been vaccinated are very likely to catch measles if they are exposed to the virus.

"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."

According to the CDC, among children infected with measles, up to one in 20 will develop pneumonia, one out of 1,000 will develop encephalitis and one or two out of 1,000 will die. Measles can also cause pregnant women to have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.

Contra Costa County residents can call county health services (925) 313-6740 or 211 and Berkeley residents can call (510) 981-5300 for more information. Additional information is also available at online.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by concerned
a resident of Danville
on Feb 14, 2014 at 8:34 am

UC Berkeley should be asked how a student was able to matriculate without providing proof of vaccination against measles and other serious contagious diseases? Innocent people may die because of the infected student.

Like this comment
Posted by Leah
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 14, 2014 at 11:01 pm

UC Berkeley doesn't care how this student got in without vaccination records!! My friends have students from Mexico all the time---with TB! One was put in food service before discovered!!! This is what you get for kissing the diversity god's butt.

Like this comment
Posted by Bayareamom
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Web Link


"On Sept. 12, 2013, public health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) called a press conference to announce that vaccination rates among pre-school children are “high and stable” and “less than 1% are unvaccinated.” 1 More than 90 percent of American toddlers have gotten a measles containing MMR shot by age three, along with many doses of 10 other government recommended vaccines.

159 Measles Cases Reported This Year in U.S.

But health officials warned there have been 159 cases of measles reported so far this year, the second highest number of measles cases reported in one year since 2000. They put the blame on 92 unvaccinated Americans diagnosed with measles who had “philosophical objections” to vaccination, such as orthodox Jews in New York City and Christians attending a church in Texas, which they described as “clusters of people with like-minded beliefs leading them to forego vaccines.” 2 3 4

There have been no measles-related deaths in the U.S. this year; however one government official said that 160,000 people around the world die from measles every year and the infection is “literally a plane ride away.” She warned that “the measles virus can hang out in the air and if you are in the same waiting room as someone with measles you will get measles if you never had it.” 5

Americans Born Before 1957 Have Natural Immunity

In the interest of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that when I was a child I did get measles and so did my sister and brother and all my friends. It started off with a fever, runny nose, sore throat and white spots inside our mouths and then an itchy red rash on our faces that spread all over and I remember wearing sunglasses in the house because the light hurt my eyes. My parents and grandparents and their sisters and brothers also had measles when they were children. When I was growing up in the 1950’s, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox were infections we all experienced but our parents didn’t worry about those childhood diseases like they worried about polio.

Americans born before 1957 have naturally acquired immunity to measles and we passed antibodies on to our babies when they were born to protect them from measles during the first year of life. Because naturally acquired measles antibodies are different from vaccine antibodies, young vaccinated Moms today cannot give longer lasting naturally acquired measles antibodies to their newborns. 6

Things have definitely changed in the past 60 years.

American Children Highly Vaccinated

In August and September, the CDC published annual reports that once again confirmed American children are among the most highly vaccinated in the world. 7 8 9 In 2012, 95% of children entering kindergarten had gotten two MMR shots and so had more than 90% of high school students. About 1.8% of kindergarten children had a medical or personal belief exemption to vaccination on file with schools.

Bottom line: 95% of the approximately 75 million children under age 18 10 have gotten two doses of MMR vaccine and there is also a high measles vaccination rate among young adults in their 20’s and mid-30’s because, since 1981, 95% of all children entering kindergarten have received at least one dose of MMR vaccine and three or more doses of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio containing vaccines. 11

Now let’s take a look at what measles incidence and death rates looked like before and after the first measles vaccine was licensed in 1963.

Infections & Vaccine Reactions: Misdiagnosis & Underreporting

It is important to remember that, like B. pertussis whooping cough and other infectious diseases, measles has natural cyclical increases and decreases every few years in populations.12 13 Plus, not all pertussis 14 15 or measles infections 16 17 are diagnosed correctly by doctors and reported to government health officials and the same is true for diagnosis and reporting of vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. 18 19 20

Before Vaccine: Millions of Measles Cases Not Reported

Before measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, the CDC admits there was massive underreporting of measles cases and that “because virtually all children acquired measles, the number of measles cases probably approached 3.5 million per year (.i.e., an entire birth cohort). ” 21 Other doctors say it was more like 5 million cases of measles occurring every year. 22 In 1960, three years before the first measles vaccine was put on the market in the U.S., there were about 442,000 reported measles cases and 380 related deaths 23 24 among 3.5 to 5 million Americans..."

Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Feb 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

Just because the student traveled abroad and may have contracted measles in another country, Leah apparently makes the unfounded leap of (right-wing) faith that somehow the student attended Berkeley because of an admissions policy favoring diversity.

Pretty pathetic.

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