Healthy Choices

BART riders may have been exposed to measles

A BART train leaves the Walnut Creek Bart station in 2005. A Contra Costa resident who rode BART for the morning commute Feb. 4, 5 and 6 is confirmed to have the measles.
A BART train leaves the Walnut Creek Bart station in 2005. A Contra Costa resident who rode BART for the morning commute Feb. 4, 5 and 6 is confirmed to have the measles. Sacramento Bee file

Northern California residents should be aware of potential measles exposure from a confirmed patient who traveled from Contra Costa County to San Francisco via Bay Area Rapid Transit while infectious, officials say.

The Contra Costa Health Services department announced this week the county’s first case since the start of the statewide measles outbreak in December. There are 110 confirmed cases of measles in California, about 39 of them from people who visited the Disneyland theme park in Orange County last year, according to an update Wednesday from the California Department of Public Health.

The infected Contra Costa resident rode BART from Lafayette station to the Montgomery Street station in San Francisco during the morning commute on Feb. 4, 5 and 6. The person also commuted home from Montgomery Street to Lafayette via BART in the evenings those same days.

The person also visited San Francisco’s E&O Kitchen and Bar on the night of Feb. 4. BART riders, restaurant patrons and other people who were potentially exposed to the virus are being notified, the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a release.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that causes rash, sore throat, coughing, runny nose and fever. Once airborne, the virus lingers for about two hours. Anyone who is not properly vaccinated is considered to be at high risk of infection, officials say. People who have already had measles or people who have received two active doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are most likely immune to the virus.

About 1,900 Sacramento residents reported commuting to San Francisco for work between 2006 and 2010, according to the latest U.S. census estimates.

“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, in a release. “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.”

Call The Bee’s Sammy Caiola, (916) 321-1636.

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