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

Berkeley officials have put out an alert that a UC Berkeley student diagnosed with measles rode public transportation and was active in the community before he was put in isolation.

The student, who was not identified, was infectious from Aug. 24 to Aug. 29., according to a city press release. On Monday Aug. 24 he took the AC Transit line 25 around 3:30 p.m. and returned on the same line around 5:30 p.m. He also spent time in his dorm and around the UC campus before his tell-tale rash developed.

The measles virus is highly contagious and can linger in the air for two hours so “Berkeley community members may have been exposed in a variety of places,” according to Matthai Chakko, a city spokesman. After exposure, it can take one to three weeks for symptoms of the illness to appear.

Measles is preventable with two doses of the MMR vaccine. One dose protects 95% of those vaccinated and the recommended two doses protects 99% of people.

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.

“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 in a statement. “Obtaining records of your vaccination could prove critical in the event of a local outbreak.”

California experienced a large measles outbreak from December 2014 to April sparked by a visit to Disneyland by a number of unvaccinated children. After not seeing many cases for years, around 130 people, including 17 in the Bay Area, came down with the disease. The outbreak prompted state officials to eliminate the personal belief exemption regarding vaccinations for children entering Kindergarten.

Members of the community who have further questions can contact Berkeley Public Health at 981-5300 or publichealth@cityofberkeley.

Other resources:

Berkeley reports possible case of measles exposure (2.26.15)
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.

Avatar photo

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...