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Measles Case Confirmed In Berkeley; Health Warning Issued For May 7

BERKELEY (CBS SF) -- A case of measles has been confirmed for a Berkeley resident and a health warning issued for customers who shopped at the Berkeley Bowl on the afternoon May 7, health officials announced Friday.

Berkeley Public Health officials said the resident is no longer contagious, but those who are not immune and who shopped at the Berkeley Bowl on 2020 Oregon Street on Tuesday May 7 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. need to be aware of the first stage of symptoms: runny nose, red eyes, cough and fever.

"Symptoms start to emerge 7 to 21 days after exposure," officials warned. "The next stage of measles symptoms involves a rash that typically appears on the face and spreads down the body./"

Health officials said those who were particularly vulnerable are -- unvaccinated children, unvaccinated adults born in 1957 or later, and those with severely weakened immune systems.

"If you develop these symptoms, call your doctor right away," officials advised.

It is also important to call ahead to any medical facility you may visit and to tell them that you may have been exposed to measles, so they can take measures to protect other patients and visitors.

"Given how measles spreads through the air from someone unaware of infection, the need for vaccination is especially important," said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, the City of Berkeley's Health Officer.

As with many contagious diseases, City of Berkeley Public Health staff interviewed the infected person and is in the process of interviewing everyone with whom the individual had extended contact.

The exposure was worrisome enough for a Berkeley mom and her wife, who asked not to be identified, to check their receipts to see if their child was exposed.

"She checked her credit card receipts to see if she was here that day and she was, and she came to the store to see what time she was here," the Berkeley mother said.

Luckily, their child was in the clear.

Berkeley Public Health officer Dr. Lisa Fernandez told KPIX 5 you don't have to touch a person with measles to catch it, just share their air space,

"It's airborne. When someone sneezes or coughs - the virus travels through the air person - to person and it can linger in the air for about an hour or so," said Fernandez .

Measles cases nationally are at their highest levels in 25 years. Berkeley's Health Officer urges everyone - especially those planning international travel - to make sure they have the recommended two doses of vaccine.

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