Electron microscope image of the virus responsible for measles (paramyxoviridae). Photographer: Alain Grillet. Copyright Sanofi Pasteur

The City of Berkeley has issued an alert after an adult with measles visited La Mediterranée restaurant in Berkeley on the evening of Friday February 20.

The city is advising that patrons at the Elmwood neighborhood restaurant during that time should monitor themselves for symptoms until March 13.

The person, a San Mateo County resident, was at the restaurant on 2936 College Ave. from approximately 6:45 to 8 p.m. that Friday, the city said in a release about the incident issued at around 8 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 26.

“The measles virus can linger in the air for up to two hours, so those at the restaurant until 10 p.m. could have been exposed. The risk is very slight for those who have received the recommended two doses of the vaccine,” read the statement.

“The person was infectious but did not know it because the person had not yet developed the tell-tale rash — a circumstance that contributes to the rapid spread of the highly infectious, airborne virus. Symptoms can develop between 7 and 21 days after exposure to the virus,” the city said.

“If those exposed develop fever and a facial rash, they should contact their health care provider for advice and assistance. Those at highest risk are those who are unvaccinated, infants, pregnant women, and those with impaired immunity.”

“I encourage Berkeley community members to make sure they and their children have received the required two doses,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Berkeley’s Health Officer. “Obtaining records of your vaccination could prove critical in the event of a local outbreak.”

The city’s statement also included the following guidance:

Measles is highly preventable. The recommended two doses of MMR vaccine protects 99% of people even if they are exposed to the virus. Even a single dose protects 95% of those vaccinated.

Berkeley Public Health is working with the restaurant to notify and assess exposed individuals who work at the restaurant. Berkeley Public Health is also working closely with the San Mateo County Health System, which is working to trace all contacts involving the infected individual.

California is experiencing a large measles outbreak that has now spread to other states.  There have been at least 126 cases statewide that have reached six Bay Area counties, including Alameda County. New cases continue to emerge. The origin of the local restaurant patron’s infection are unknown at this time. Public health officials around the state have been working to track cases and limit exposure to others through quarantines and tracing the populations of those possibly infected.

Measles can have significant health impacts, especially among infants and pregnant women. Patients develop high fevers, red and watery eyes, high fevers, and a rash that starts on the head and face and spreads to cover most of the body. In some cases, measles can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, hospitalization or even death.

Two doses of MMR vaccine are recommended, starting at 12 months of age. The second dose can be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose. In high risk situations, infants as young as 6 months of age can receive the vaccine.

Adults born before 1957 are considered immune because of the prevalence of measles prior to the emergence of the vaccine. Other adults who were not vaccinated as children, or are not sure of their immune status, can also receive the MMR vaccine.

Members of the community who have questions can contact Berkeley Public Health at 981-5300 or email: publichealth@cityofberkeley. Other resources include: California Department of Public Health and Alameda County Public Health.

If measles breaks out in Berkeley unvaccinated children will be quarantined for 21 days (1.30.15)

Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter and on Facebook where we often break news. Email us at tips@berkeleyside.com. Would you like the latest Berkeley news sent to your email inbox once a day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...