London measles outbreak raises public health concerns

Tue, 26/04/2016

Westminster City Council is urging parents and young adults to vaccinate against MMR following a measles outbreak in the capital.

London has seen over 60 cases of measles in the last two months in a period when there would usually be fewer than 10, with 48 of these cases in those aged 15 or over.

Public Health England advise that parents and young adults remain alert to measles and look out for cold-like symptoms, sore red eyes, a high temperature or a red-brown blotchy rash.

Those experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention, but should phone ahead before visiting GP surgeries so arrangements can be made to prevent others from being infected.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. Although usually a mild illness in children, measles can be more severe in adults. It’s now less common in the UK because of the effective MMR vaccination programme.

The MMR vaccination also provides protection against two other common highly infectious diseases: mumps and rubella. It’s crucial pregnant women have been vaccinated with MMR as rubella in particular can cause serious complications during pregnancy.

The MMR vaccination provides you and your baby with important protection and can be given before you become pregnant or after you’ve given birth.

Vaccine uptake rates in England are currently among the highest in Europe but an increase is still needed to reach the World Health Organisation’s 95% target for MMR vaccination in 2 year olds. The current vaccination rate in London is just over 87%. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, remain susceptible to infection.

Further information is available at GOV.UK.

Last updated: 10 May 2016
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