Remember all the frustration you expressed over the possibly nonvaccinating family of BART/UC Berkeley's Measles Patient Zero? Well, it looks like you might have been proven right, as Contra Costa County health officials are saying that two of the student's family members have also contracted the potentially fatal disease.
On the plus side: unlike the student, who did things like ride BART, go to classes, and hang out in Berkeley, both of the afflicted relatives chose to quarantine themselves in their homes after the student was diagnosed. As a result, it doesn't appear that anyone else was exposed to the disease by these new measles victims, described as Contra Costa County men in their 20s and 30s.
According to Contra Costa Health Services’ Communicable Disease programs chief Erika Jenssen, neither the student nor (as many of you predicted) the two ill family members were vaccinated against the measles.
Anyone who is not immunized is “very likely to get measles if they are exposed to the virus” Jenssen said. “This really underscores the importance of everyone getting vaccinated."
It's believed that the UC Berkeley student contracted measles while on a recent trip to the Philippines.
On Valentine's Day, BART users were alerted to their possible exposure to the disease. Though the infected student only rode BART between El Cerrito del Norte and Downtown Berkeley stations, the airborne virus can linger on for as long as two hours, putting many more passengers at risk.
The illness is spread by droplets released when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Symptoms include a rash like one in the photo above, fever, cough, a runny nose, red, watery eyes, or feeling run down and achy. If you suspect that you have measles, see a doctor immediately.
The California Department of Public Health says that reported cases of measles in the Bay Area have been on the rise. For more information on the measles, check out the virus' page on the Center for Disease Control website.