Media Release
Media Release
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, Assistant to the City Manager, (510) 981-7008

BERKELEY PUBLIC HEALTH URGES VACCINATION AFTER MEASLES CASE AT UC

Berkeley, California (Friday, April 04, 2014) - Tests confirmed on Friday that a UC Berkeley student has measles, prompting City of Berkeley Public Health and University Health Services to notify students and others who may have been in close proximity to the student.

The student was isolated on April 3, soon after reporting a rash suspected of being measles-related. The quick action means that exposure to others was limited. In addition, the fast discovery means unvaccinated people who were potentially exposed can still get the vaccine, which can prevent infection when given within 72 hours of exposure.

Health officials urge anyone who shows symptoms of measles to stay home and contact their healthcare provider immediately. Berkeley Public Health and University Health Services are encouraging people to check their vaccination records for the MMR vaccine and to contact your health provider if they have not received their full set of doses.

There have been a high number of measles cases throughout the state this year. The California Department of Public Health reported early Friday that there have been at least 51 cases this year, compared to 4 at the same time last year. The vast majority of cases involve those who traveled to or were in contact with known measles cases.

The student returned from domestic flight to Oakland on March 30, rode BART to Berkeley and attended classes April 1 through April 3. Students who might have been in class with the student on those days have been personally contacted via email.

The current case is unrelated to another case in mid-February, which involved a Contra Costa County resident who commuted to UC Berkeley via BART.

People who are vaccinated or have had measles before are unlikely to catch measles, even if they had contact with a contagious person. But those who were not previously vaccinated are very likely to catch measles if exposed to the virus.

Measles symptoms can begin one to three weeks after exposure and can include high fever, runny nose, coughing and watery red eyes. A rash develops on the face and neck two to three days after the fever begins, and spreads down the body. The rash usually lasts five or six days. An infected person is contagious for several days before and after the rash appears.

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

The measles virus can stay in the air for up to two hours.

City of Berkeley residents can call 510-981-5300 for additional information.  Information is also available at cdc.gov/measles, http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx. or via this Fact Sheet.

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