Public health officials confirm resident with measles in Contra Costa County rode BART last week

Sarina Kernberg/Staff
Sarina Kernberg/File

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Public health officials confirmed Wednesday that a Contra Costa County resident with the measles virus commuted on BART from Lafayette to San Francisco on Feb. 4-6.

This is the first measles case in Contra Costa County since the statewide outbreak began in December.

As of Monday, before the BART passenger case, there had been 107 reported measles cases in California, and the majority of those patients were not vaccinated against the disease, according to the California Department of Public Health.

According to BART spokesperson Alicia Trost, public health officials said they learned the passenger tested positive for the measles virus earlier this week through a report from his medical provider. BART then learned of the case Tuesday, she said.

The passenger rode BART from the Lafayette station to the Montgomery station during the morning commute hours, 6 to 8 a.m., and evening commute hours, 7 to 9 p.m. The BART passenger is a LinkedIn employee who works in the company’s San Francisco office, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Although BART passengers were exposed to the virus during that time, “people feel safe because they are vaccinated,” Trost said.

People who are vaccinated against measles or have had the disease before are at low risk, according to health officials, but anyone who has not been previously exposed is at high risk to be infected if exposed to the virus.

The person also visited the E & O Kitchen and Bar in San Francisco on Feb. 4. Contra Costa Public Health and the San Francisco Department of Public Health are working together to investigate the person’s movements and are notifying people who were in close contact, according to the press release.

Measles, a highly contagious and airborne disease, can stay in the air for up to two hours after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms usually begin with a fever and are followed by runny nose, coughing and a full-body rash.

This is one of two times in recent years that a person with active measles virus has been reported to be a BART passenger, Trost said. A UC Berkeley student rode BART while infected with measles last year, but no other BART passengers reported getting the virus.

Contact Amy Jiang at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ajiang_dc.