Bay Area residents exposed to measles virus

455195407More than 90 percent of the United States population has received the measles vaccination. Because of our effective vaccination programs, measles is no longer endemic in the US and has not been for over a decade. Recent outbreaks of this disease have been associated with imported virus, mainly from Europe.

This is true with the most recent case of measles. Health officials warn that individuals in the Bay Area may have been exposed to measles from an unvaccinated UC Berkeley student infected with the virus who rode on BART and attended classes in Berkeley. The virus can stay in the air for up to two hours and is highly contagious. However, if individuals have received the vaccination or have had measles previously, they are unlikely to catch the disease. Those who are not vaccinated are at the greatest risk. And California is one of 19 states that have personal belief or philosophical exemptions from mandatory vaccination, allowing parents to skip getting their kids vaccinated for any reason, or none at all.

According to Dr. Janet Berreman, health officer for the city of Berkeley, Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Fortunately, the measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection. However, health officials urge that if people start to develop symptoms such as high fever, runny nose, and watery eyes, they should see their doctor immediately. At this point, no other related cases have been identified.

ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says, We have been talking about the importance of vaccinations for years. This is just another example of why it is imperative that you and your children are vaccinated. The trouble here is due to the fact that vaccines have been so effective, the childhood scourges of contagion are no longer in the memories of today s parents, so it s easy to let is slide. And there are groups advocating against vaccines based on their own ideologies. Don t buy into their hysteria don t put you or your kids at risk.