Public Health England is calling for all parents to get their children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) when the vaccine is offered, or for them to take it up now if they didn’t have it at the scheduled time.
In the first quarter of 2019, there were 231 confirmed cases of measles. As measles is highly infectious, anyone who has not received 2 doses of MMR vaccine or had measles is at risk, particularly unvaccinated people travelling to countries where there are currently large outbreaks of measles.
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications.
The recent measles cases are occurring mainly in under-vaccinated communities, particularly those with links to other countries with ongoing measles outbreaks. There has also been some spread into the wider population, such as those who may have missed out on the MMR vaccine when they were younger.
The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after a person is infected. These can include:
- cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
- a few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body
Symptoms usually resolve in about 7 to 10 days.
If you think you have measles and feel unwell and need to visit either the Urgent Treatment Centre at Teddington Memorial hospital or the Urgent Care Centre at West Middlesex University hospital then please call ahead, that way if you do have measles you won’t pass it on to others.
Measles can be particularly harmful to someone whose immune system is weak and if a pregnant women catches measles it may harm her baby.
For further information go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles