Recent measles exposure on BART; risk of infection low
Some BART riders may have been exposed to measles last week after a San Mateo County resident with measles commuted from Millbrae station to Civic Center station while infectious. The risk of contracting measles via BART is negligible, though Bay Area residents should be aware of the situation.
San Mateo County Public Health officials confirmed the case and issued an advisory today after learning the person traveled on BART before being diagnosed. The overwhelming majority people are not at risk thanks to high vaccination rates against measles, but unvaccinated people are at risk of infection if exposed to the virus. BART uses industrial-strength disinfectant to clean its trains at the end of the line during the day and each night, and will continue to do so as a matter of course.
The person traveled on a Richmond-bound train between the Millbrae and Civic Center stations between 4:30 and 5:00 pm on Friday, February 20th.
People who are vaccinated (or have had measles before) are extremely unlikely to catch the virus, even if they have contact with a contagious person. However, those who were not previously vaccinated are at high risk if exposed. Measles is a serious, highly contagious viral disease that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Health officials urge anyone who shows symptoms of measles to contact their healthcare provider immediately.
“Measles is a highly contagious disease, a dangerous disease for many people, such as infants, and most important, it’s a preventable disease,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer. “The measles vaccine is safe, and being vaccinated not only protects you and your family, but every child and person in your community. I strongly urge everyone to get vaccinated and help stop the spread of measles.”
People born before 1957 are considered immune as they likely had measles as children and developed immunity from the disease. Adults born after 1957 should review their vaccination records to ensure they have received the MMR vaccine or talk to their regular healthcare provider for questions about immunization status. Pregnant women, the elderly, infants and people who are HIV positive / immunocompromised are considered to be at high risk for measles if they are not vaccinated.
Measles 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, 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.
Additional information is available on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html or for California Department of Public Health (CDPH) outbreak information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/measles/