Public Health Wales: Further case in Gwent measles outbreak
Posted on Friday 4th August 2017
An additional measles case in Gwent has brought the total number of cases in the ongoing outbreak to 13.
The outbreak, affecting the Newport and Torfaen areas, has direct links to a large outbreak in Europe that has infected 14,000 people since the beginning of the year.
Measles is highly contagious, and Public Health Wales is warning parents across Wales that unvaccinated children are at risk.
Dr Rhianwen Stiff, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said: “When the MMR vaccine is safe, effective and easily available, it’s really disappointing to see outbreaks of measles, which is a serious and potentially fatal infection.
“The outbreak in Europe poses a real threat to children in Wales who are not vaccinated, both those travelling to the continent over the summer holidays and those who come into contact with visitors from other countries who have measles.
“In this outbreak, we’ve seen measles passed between strangers who spent very little time in the same place, which underlines how very contagious this infection can be.
“The message is simple – if you, or your child, is not up to date with two doses of the MMR vaccine, speak to your GP surgery immediately.”
Children with measles symptoms - which include a high temperature, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and a distinctive red rash - should be kept home from school, nurseries and social events such as holiday clubs and birthday parties.
Public Health Wales is also urging parents not to take children who appear to have symptoms of measles to the GP surgery, A&E department or hospital, where they could put other people at risk, without calling ahead first.
Parents who suspect their child has measles should contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for an assessment.
A rolling programme of vaccination sessions has already been completed in schools across Newport in response to the outbreak, with 1,089 children receiving immunisation.
Measles is highly infectious and the only way to prevent large outbreaks is through vaccination. Parents whose children are not up to date with two doses of MMR should ensure that they contact their GP practice to arrange this quick, safe and effective vaccine.
Adults born since 1970, who have never had measles or the MMR vaccine, are also urged to ensure they contact their surgery about vaccination, especially if they work with children.
The first dose of MMR is usually given to babies at between 12 and 13 months of age, and the second at three years and four months of age, but it is never too late to catch up on missed doses.
About 1 in 5 children with measles can experience serious complications such as ear infections, pneumonia or meningitis. One in 10 children with measles ends up in hospital and in rare cases it can be fatal.
Further information on measles, including a link to a video testimony from a mother whose three year old unvaccinated daughter contracted measles, is available at http://www.publichealthwales.org/measles