Public Health Wales: More than 600 children vaccinated in Newport measles outbreak
Posted on Thursday 22nd June 2017
More than 600 children have now been given the MMR vaccination at sessions held in Newport schools in response to a measles outbreak.
In less than three weeks since the outbreak was declared, a total of 604 children have been immunised.
There have been no further confirmed cases of measles in the outbreak, which has affected five people.
The strain of measles has been identified as the same one causing outbreaks of the infection across Europe over the last few months.
Parents across Wales are urged to ensure that their children are vaccinated with two doses of MMR, especially if they are planning on visiting Europe over the summer or attending festivals in the UK.
Heather Lewis, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: "I would like to extend my thanks to colleagues in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in particular school nursing services, who have worked so hard to vaccinate so many children in such a short time.
"The numbers of children vaccinated and the lack of any new cases in the outbreak is not, however, cause for complacency. With measles circulating widely in Europe and only a short plane ride away, children who are not fully vaccinated remain at risk from this potentially deadly infection both at home and abroad.
"Measles is highly infectious and the only way to prevent large outbreaks is through vaccination. We urge parents whose children are not up to date with two doses of MMR to ensure that they contact their surgery immediately to arrange this quick, safe and effective vaccine."
The five cases of measles confirmed to date all have an association with Lliswerry High School in Newport. Vaccination sessions were initially held there and in six linked primary schools.
In addition, a rolling programme of vaccination sessions is underway in schools across Newport.
Children with measles symptoms - which include a fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and a distinctive red rash - should be kept home from school.
Parents who suspect their child has measles should contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for an assessment. They should also alert their GP of the symptoms before attending any appointment.
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