Thousands of students and public transportation riders in California may have been exposed to the measles, reports KHON2 News. A student from the University of California at Berkeley contracted the measles after traveling without being vaccinated. Before realizing he had the disease, he rode the BART, which is a rapid transit system in San Francisco. From February 4 to February 7, he was around campus and on the BART.
Unfortunately, the measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after the infected individual was there. This means that every time the student went somewhere, he left the possibility of infection for others that came to the same place for two hours after. Health officials are notifying all individuals on the college campus that may have come into contact with the infected individual.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola. Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia.
While the majority of those that are infected by the measles are expected to recover fully, there is the potential for serious complications in some. The CDC reports that for every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die. Worldwide, the condition is even more serious. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there were 122,000 measles death globally, amounting to 14 measles-related deaths per hour.
Around the same time as the case in California, an infant in Hawaii presented with measles, reports Hawaii News Now. The infant had traveled from the Philippines through Guam, before arriving in Honolulu. Officials are concerned because of the wide range of exposure associated with this international travel. Additionally, the measles are a highly contagious disease, even more contagious than the flu. Fortunately, in Hawaii, the vaccination rate is quite high. The last confirmed cases of the measles were in 2010, when four cases were confirmed. Time will tell whether this and the Berkeley infection are isolated cases.