Families urged to check vaccines are up to date following measles cases - The Solihull Observer

Families urged to check vaccines are up to date following measles cases

Solihull Editorial 7th Dec, 2023   0

RESIDENTS are being urged to check they and their family are up-to-date with their measles vaccinations following 19 confirmed cases in the West Midlands.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) West Midlands has warned that number is likely to rise.

The agency said it was working with local authorities and NHS partners to ensure anyone in the region who needs a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination is aware there is an increased risk of catching measles, following confirmed cases in Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry.

Paul Fisher, UKHSA West Midlands consultant in health protection, said: “We are currently seeing cases of measles across the country, including the West Midlands region.

“Measles is very infectious and can spread rapidly among communities, such as schools, if people have not had at least one dose of the MMR vaccine.

“Uptake of the MMR vaccine in the West Midlands is much lower than the 95 per cent needed to protect the population, which is giving this serious disease a chance to get a foothold in our communities, so it’s really important anyone who hasn’t already had two doses of the MMR vaccine by the time they started full-time school, contacts their GP surgery for an appointment to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

UKHSA said most of the measles cases it was seeing was in those who have had no doses of the MMR vaccine.

The MMR is part of the routine NHS schedule of childhood vaccines administered with the first dose given just after a child’s first birthday and the second when a child is between three years and four months and when they start school.

Mr Fisher said: “If you have the symptoms of measles, it is essential you don’t just turn up at your GP practice, walk-in centre or other healthcare setting. Instead, you should contact your GP or NHS111 for advice. If you do need to visit your GP practice, walk-in centre or other healthcare setting, please phone ahead so arrangements can be made to prevent other people being infected.”

Symptoms of measles appear seven to 10 days after contact with the virus and include cold-like symptoms, such as runny or blocked nose, sneezing and cough, red, sore, watery eyes, high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40 degrees celsius. A non-itchy, red-brown rash usually appears three to five days later – it sometimes starts around the ears before spreading to rest of the body, spots may be raised and join to form blotchy patches and small white spots may appear inside cheeks and the back of lips for a few days.


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