Diners at Berkeley restaurant may have been exposed to measles

BERKELEY (BCN) -- Patrons of La Mediterranee restaurant may have been exposed to measles last Friday evening, Berkeley health officials said.

A San Mateo County resident who had measles visited the restaurant at 2936 College Ave. at about 6:45 p.m. and stayed until about 8 p.m.

The same day a San Mateo resident with measles rode a Richmond-bound BART train from Millbrae to San Francisco's Civic Center station. The person arrived in San Francisco at about 5 p.m.

Health officials haven't said whether the person who rode BART and the person who dined in Berkeley are the same person.

Measles is a highly infectious, airborne virus that can stay in the air for up to two hours, according to health officials. Patrons of the La Mediterranee who were at the restaurant until 10 p.m. could get the disease.

People who have been vaccinated have only a slight risk of infection.

People who visited La Mediterranee between 6:45 p.m. and 10 p.m. should watch for symptoms until March 13, health officials said. Symptoms can develop between seven and 21 days after exposure.

Symptoms include high fever, red and watery eyes and a rash that appears first on the head and face and can spread to most of the body.

People who develop symptoms should get in touch with their health provider for advice and help. Unvaccinated infants, pregnant women and people with impaired immune systems are at the greatest risk for developing symptoms.

"I encourage Berkeley community members to make sure they and their children have received the required two doses" of the measles vaccine, Berkeley's health officer Dr. Janet Berreman said in a statement.

Berreman also suggested residents obtain records of their vaccination, which could be critical if there is a local outbreak.

Health officials said that measles is highly preventable. Ninety-nine percent of the people who get two doses of the vaccine are protected from infection. Ninety-five percent of people who get one does are protected.

Berkeley's Department of Health Services is working with La Mediterranee to notify and assess anyone who may have been exposed to the virus. The Department is also working with the County of San Mateo Health

System to trace the people the infected individual had contact with.

Health officials don't know how the resident who dined at La Mediterranee got infected.