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California Commuters Warned of Measles Risk

Update Date: Feb 14, 2014 02:33 PM EST

Public transit commuters residing in the San Francisco area of California have been alerted about the measles risk within the neighborhood. According to the state health officials, one student from the University of California, Berkeley was infected with measles most likely after he returned from a trip to Asia. Between Feb. 4 and Feb. 7, he had taken the BART trains and could have potentially spread the virus.

Measles, also known as rubeola, is a very contagious respiratory illness that causes symptoms such as fever, runny nose, rash and a cough. Since measles symptoms manifest around seven to 10 days after of the initial infection, officials warn commuters to keep an eye out for these symptoms and seek immediate medical care if any concerns arise.

"It is very important for them to recognize the symptoms of fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and perhaps a rash," said Erika Janssen, a communicable disease officer for Contra Costa County reported by USA Today.

The infected student, who is a Contra Costa County resident, believed that he was suffering from a cold last week. Without knowing that he might have had measles, he took the train from El Cerrito del Norte to downtown Berkeley twice a day. He was later diagnosed with measles when he developed a rash.

 "Was he licking everything on the BART trains?" commuter Mary Mottola asked. "I'm not worried at all, nor has anyone I know mentioned it and I rode BART yesterday. Isn't this why we get vaccinated?"

Dr. Janet Berreman, health officer for the city of Berkeley, stated, reported by the San Francisco Gate, "Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Fortunately, the measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection."

Officials stressed the importance of monitoring one's symptoms and getting care if one suspects a measles infection.

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