Measles spreads to infected Cal student’s family

Relatives of a UC Berkeley student diagnosed with measles have also contracted the disease, health officials said Friday.

Neither the student or the family members were vaccinated against measles, Contra Costa Health Services officials told the CoCo Times.

The student likely contracted the disease while visiting the Philippines, a country that has struggled with measles since Typhoon Haiyan.

The men, in their 20s and 30s, voluntarily quarantined themselves in their homes after their family member was diagnosed. They have not been publicly identified.

Health officials warned BART riders the student used the transit system to commute to school while infected between Feb. 4 and Feb. 7.

Those vaccinated are unlikely to catch the illness, health officials said.

Measles spreads easily by someone affected coughing or sneezing. WebMD describes it as a:

“…highly contagious viral disease… characterized by fever, cough, acute nasal mucous membrane discharge, inflammation of the lining of the eyelids, a spreading rash, and eruption of small, irregular, bright red spots on the inner cheeks in the mouth with a minute bluish or white speck in the center of each.”

Erika Jenssen, Communicable Disease Programs Chief with Contra Costa Health Services’ Public Health Division, said in a press release:

“People who aren’t immunized are very likely to get measles if they are exposed to the virus. This really underscores the importance of everyone getting vaccinated.”

This problem highlights a statewide issue. There have been 15 cases of the measles statewide so far this year according to health officials. That’s compared to two confirmed cases by this time in 2013.

Cases include one in Alameda County, one in San Mateo County and two in Contra Costa County.

Health officials urge anyone to seek vaccination if they have not done so. They suggest consulting their health care provider or checking their medical history to check their immunization record.