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BART Riders Warned About Measles Infection From Contagious Passenger

OAKLAND (CBS SF) - Bay Area Rapid Transit and East Bay health authorities warned BART passengers on Thursday to seek medical attention if they begin exhibiting any symptoms of measles after an infected and contagious person rode  BART in the East Bay last week.

BART said the person infected with measles traveled between El Cerrito del Norte and Downtown Berkeley stations on Tuesday, February 4 through Friday, February 7 between 8 to 10 am and in the afternoon/evening commute hours.

According to the Contra Costa Health Services, the passenger diagnosed with measles is a student at UC Berkeley. The student, who lives off campus, took BART to classes several times from his home in Contra Costa County.

A CCHS spokeswoman said the student recently travelled abroad and likely came in contact with the disease while traveling to Asia. He was not vaccinated.

The measles virus can be transmitted through the air and can live in the air for up to two hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The CDC says symptoms of measles generally begin about 7-14 days after a person is infected.

BART riders were urged to get medical attention if they exhibit any symptoms of measles. Symptoms include:  rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red and water eyes, tiny white spots inside the mouth, and general malaise.

The CDC says measles has been virtually wiped out in the United States thanks to vaccinations but the disease still poses a risk to those who have not been vaccinated.

"If this individual had been vaccinated and was exposed to measles abroad, they wouldn't have been infected and would not have brought the disease to the United States," said Erika Jenssen of Contra Costa County Public Health, "and all of this would not be happening."

BART says it uses industrial-strength disinfectant to clean its trains at the end of the line during the day and each night.

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