Measles-Infected Student May Have Spread Disease on BART


Public transportation riders no there is a health risk involved due to riding in a confined space with multiple people, but riders do not usually worry about measles. Today, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and East Bay officials warned BART passengers to pursue medical attention if they exhibit any measles symptoms. This is because a measles-infected student may have spread the disease on BART.

The infected person is a student at UC Berkeley, according to Contra Costa Health Services, and was riding the East Bay lines between El Cerrito Del Norte and Downtown Berkeley stations last week from Tuesday, Feb. 4 and Friday, Feb. 7. The student was commuting to classes from his home in Contra Costa County during that time rush hour times both in the morning and at night.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 28 percent of people who get measles are infected in another country. This is what is believed to have happened with this student. He just returned from studying abroad and is presumed to have acquired the disease while traveling unvaccinated in Asia.

Measles is an exceedingly contagious respiratory disease that is caused by a virus. One or two out of 1,000 children that get the disease will die from it and the disease is so contagious that if an unvaccinated person is exposed, they will likely become infected. Symptoms caused by measles are a rash all over the body, runny nose, cough and fever. Symptoms could also include watery, red eyes and very small white spots inside the mouth. It is spread through the air by breathing, sneezing or coughing. The measles-infected student may have spread the disease on BART through simply being on the trains.

The CDC said that the virus could live in the air for up to two hours. They also said that measles symptoms usually take about seven to 14 days to manifest themselves. People infected with the disease are usually contagious days before they have the rash symptoms and days after the rash symptoms cease. The contagious student is now recuperating at home.

About 390,000 people ride BART on weekdays and health officials said that the virus was probably existed on trains that went all over the Bay Area, potentially infecting thousands. Luckily, the vaccine has proven to be very effective in protecting against the virus. Thanks to the vaccine, measles has been pretty much eliminated in the United States. Before the measles vaccine approximately 450-500 people died of measles a year in the US. Now, there are only about 60 reported cases a year, mostly beginning out of the country. Contra Costa County Public Health’s Erika Jenssen said that if the student had been vaccinated he would not have contracted the disease and potentially spread it. UC Berkeley’s medical director for University Health Services, Brad Buchman, said that the vaccine is not required for students, but is “highly recommended.”

Measles does pose a risk to those who are not vaccinated or who have not already had the disease. BART said that they clean their trains with an extremely powerful disinfectant at the end of each day. However, this may not have stopped the measles-infected student from possibly spreading the disease on the BART trains.

By Rebecca Hofland

CBS San Francisco
The San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News

One Response to "Measles-Infected Student May Have Spread Disease on BART"

  1. none   February 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    4th words mis-spelled

You must be logged in to post a comment Login