Commuters on San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system may have been exposed to risk of contracting measles, as a person infected with the highly infectious virus travelled to and from February 4-6. A patient traveled during the morning and evening hours between the Bay Area’s Lafayette and Montgomery stations. Authorities suspect that the patient may have come in contact with other commuters before diagnosis.
The ride between Lafayette and Montgomery stations is 35 minutes long, but the airborne virus could have remained in the air for up to two hours – according to the health officials.
Alicia Trost, BART spokeswoman, said that BART vehicles ride throughout the Bay area and hence there is likelihood that tens of thousands of people might have potentially exposed to highly infectious virus.
The infected rider has also been reported of spending time at the E&O Kitchen and Bar during Wednesday evening between 05:30 p.m. and 07:00 p.m, potentially exposing others who were in the restaurant during that time.
Both the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Contra Costa Public Health were working closely to track movements of the person. The authorities are also informing people who might have come in close contact with the infected person.
Erika Jenssen, Chief of Contra Costa County’s communicable disease programs, said that the infected person doesn’t know where he was exposed.
The employer of the person extended full cooperation with the San Francisco Health authorities in an effort to ensure the safety of other employees who may have been exposed.
While the risk of contracting measles on BART is low, the health officials warned that anyone without vaccination against measles could be at risk.
The California Department of Public Health has reported 110 cases of measles in the State and the nationwide outbreak is estimated to have affected at least 166 people across 18 states and the District of Columbia.