Measles outbreak sparks health warnings to parents to make sure kids are vaccinated

PARENTS are being warned to make sure their children have been vaccinated after a measles outbreak.

Public Health England says there’s been a sharp recent increase in cases across Greater Manchester.

 An outbreak of measles in the north west of England has sparked health warnings from doctors

Getty – Contributor

An outbreak of measles in the north west of England has sparked health warnings from doctors

So far this year there 32 people have fallen ill with the infection – 27 of which have been in the last five weeks.

PHE is urging people to make sure they are up to date with both doses of the MMR vaccine.

Dr Kristina Poole, from Public Health England North West, told the BBC: “The majority of the cases are in unvaccinated children.”

She added: “We advise children and adults to stay away from work, school or nurseries until five days after the rash has started.

“Similarly we ask people to avoid contact with people generally during this time, but particularly people who may be more vulnerable such as babies, pregnant women or those who are known to have poor immunity.”

It comes after recent World Health Organisation figures revealed the number of people infected with measles in Europe has hit a decade high.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. It’s now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of vaccination.

Anyone can get measles if they haven’t been vaccinated or haven’t had it before, although it’s most common in young children.

The infection usually clears in around 7 to 10 days.

The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after you’re 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)
  • small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks

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.

Source: NHS England

Experts warn parents are being put off vaccinating their kids by so-called “antivaxers” who spread fake scare stories.

The government’s chief medical advisor Professor Dame Sally Davies has insisted the MMR vaccine is safe. She said uptake was “not good enough” and urged parents to ignore “social media fake news”.

Some 82,596 people in 47 of 53 countries contracted measles in 2018 and 72 children and adults died following an infection.

The infection rate is three times the figure in 2017 and 15 times a record low recorded in 2016.
There were 913 cases in England and Wales between January and October 2018, the most recent data from Public Health England shows.

Two adults died from measles in 2017 in the UK but there none last year.

Ukraine reported the highest number of measles cases in Europe last year. And more than nine in ten were in 10 countries, including France, Italy and Greece.

The surge in cases followed a year when Europe achieved the highest ever estimated coverage for measles vaccinations.

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