There is an outbreak of Measles in NE England with 46 confirmed cases and 50 suspected cases since September 2012. The outbreak in NW England is continuing with 40 confirmed cases from Heysham and Morecambe; the majority of the cases are in children.
Measles is extremely infectious and children who are not immunised are at a high risk of developing measles. Measles can be a serious illness and should not be dismissed as a common childhood ailment. In NE England, 1 in 4 cases required hospital treatment whereas in NW England 1 in 3 were hospitalised and some of them needed intensive care treatment for the serious complications of measles.
The most effective way to prevent measles is by vaccination. Two doses of MMR vaccine will give a high degree of protection; MMR is normally offered when a child is around 12 – 13 months of age and a second dose is offered at 3 years and 4 months.
Advice to parents:
1. Please ensure that your child has had the recommended two doses of MMR, if old enough to have received it. If the child has not, please make an appointment with your GP surgery for vaccination. If you are unsure whether your child has had the two doses of MMR, please check with your GP surgery.
2. If you think your child has measles (fever and skin rash) – DO NOT attend A & E, MEDS or your GP surgery. If you require medical advice, please telephone for advice and only if advised to do so attend A & E, MEDS or your GP surgery.
3. DO NOT send your child to school for at least 4 days after the onset of rash. In some cases the child may still be unwell after 4 days; in this case keep your child at home until he/she feels well enough to attend school.
4. Please ensure that the affected child minimised any contact with pregnant women, people who have weak immune systems and babies who are too young to be vaccinated.