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By Henrietta J. Burroughs       Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today              Facebook    Twitter         Blog
February 26, 2015                
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Helping Prevent the Spread of Measles from San Mateo County Health System on Vimeo.


The San Mateo County Health System confirmed the County’s fourth measles case since the outbreak began in December 2014. The latest case involves a San Mateo County resident who used public transportation while he was infected with the disease. 

San Mateo County health officials said the infectious resident might have exposed BART riders to measles during a half-hour train commute between 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on February 20, while traveling on a Richmond-bound train from the Millbrae station to Civic Center in San Francisco.

While Dr. Scott Morrow, the San Mateo County Health Officer, said the risk of contracting measles by being exposed on BART is low, he still urged everyone to become familiar with the symptoms associated with a measles infection and to watch for symptoms in themselves and in others, whom they know, who might not be vaccinated.

The San Mateo County Health System has a Communicable Disease (CD) team, which is currently compiling a list of all of the people, for example, family, friends, work colleagues, that the infected person was knowingly in contact with while contagious. This list also includes "public places where the person might have come into close contact with other people, such as in the workplace, on public transportation, in restaurants, and in other public venues."

The CD team is also tasked with contacting anyone who might have been exposed to the infected person, informing them about their potential exposure to measles and working with each person to determine his or her immunization status. The team also works with other counties in a collaborative effort to control the transmission of the disease.

 In highlighting the danger measles presents, Dr. Morrow said, “Measles is a highly contagious disease, a dangerous disease for many people, such as infants, and most important, it’s a preventable disease. The measles vaccine is safe and being vaccinated not only protects you and your family, but every child and person in your community. I strongly urge everyone to get vaccinated and help stop the spread of measles.”

County health officials are telling the public that people who have had measles "are extremely unlikely to be infected, even if they come into close contact with a contagious person. Those who have not been vaccinated with the MMR vaccine (measles mumps rubella), are at high risk for contacting the disease if they are exposed to someone who has it. All, who are not sure about their immunization status, are advised to contact their healthcare provider."

To get more information about measles, visit the San Mateo County Health System's website at http://smchealth.org/measlesinfo and the website of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx.

The author of this article, Henrietta J. Burroughs, can be contacted by email at epatoday@epatoday.org.