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Bristol UK: Measles Outbreak

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    Posted: May 05 2018 at 5:33am

Warning over measles outbreak after pupils taken ill at Easton primary school

Parents are being urged to check their children following confirmed cases among pupils

17:29, 4 MAY 2018

Parents have been warned to check their children for signs and symptoms of measles after cases were confirmed among pupils at Easton Church of England Academy in Bristol.

MMR vaccination clinics have been set up at the school by Public Health England (PHE) to protect the community. They have been offering vaccinations to family members, pupils and staff.
A spokesperson for PHE said so far there were four confirmed cases and three probable cases, all from the school. They said tests were ongoing.

Parents are being asked to check both they and their children have had two doses of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. These cases come following an increase in cases of measles across Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Why are cases on the rise?

A whole generation of children risked missing out on vaccinations following an unfounded scare over the MMR vaccine after disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield published a fraudulent study in 1998 claiming the vaccine had harmful side effects.

Wakefield, who was supporting a competing vaccine, was found to be "dishonest" in his claims by the General Medical Council and was struck off the UK medical register for deliberately falsifying research about the MMR vaccince.

Wakefield was barred from practicing medicine in the UK but the damage had already been done - parents were scared to vaccinate their kids. Before the fake research was published 92 per cent of people were inoculated, which dropped to below 80 per cent following Wakefield's bogus claims.

At the same time measles soared, from 56 cases in the UK in 1998 to 1348 by 2008, with two confirmed deaths.

"It's never too late to have the vaccine"

Dominic Mellon, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health England South West, said: “While measles is now relatively uncommon in England thanks to the MMR vaccine, those who are unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated, remain susceptible to the disease.

“We are taking this action to protect other members of the community, by going to the school directly; we can vaccinate and protect a large number of people at once.

“It is important to be aware that it is never too late to have the vaccine, so if you’ve not received two doses of the vaccine in the past – or you’re unsure – speak to your GP. There’s no harm in receiving an additional dose where there is any uncertainty.

“Also remain alert to the symptoms of measles, which can include cold-like symptoms, sore red eyes, a high temperature or a red-brown blotchy rash. If you experience these symptoms seek medical attention, but be sure to phone ahead before you visit your GP surgery so arrangements can be made to prevent others from being infected.

“You should also see your GP if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has measles and you’ve not been fully vaccinated (had two doses of the MMR vaccine).”

"Parents need to make informed decisions"

Peter Overton, Headteacher at Easton CE Academy said:“We are all very concerned about the cases of measles we have in school and this is a worrying time for our families, children and staff. We wish the children who have contracted measles a speedy recovery to good health.

“However, as we always find here in Easton, we have had a fantastic response from our school, parent and local community. We are very grateful to the Public Health England team who have provided amazing support for us and our families and we are very pleased to be working in partnership to offer the MMR vaccinations in school.

“We know that some of parents have concerns and fears about the MMR vaccination and it has been an invaluable opportunity for our parents to talk with health professionals so they can make an informed choice about their child’s health. This has been a great example of the educational and health sectors working together to serve the local community.”

Since 1 January 2018, 40 cases of measles have been confirmed in the area, compared to no confirmed cases during the same period between January and March 2017. The increase in cases locally across Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire is in line with increases currently being reported in other parts of England and Wales.

This current increase in cases serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the routine offer of the first MMR vaccination for their children at 1 year of age and a second as part of the pre-school booster at 3 years and 4 months of age.

Measles signs and symptoms

The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after a person is infected. These can include:

  • cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)

A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.

Symptoms usually resolve in about 7 to 10 days.

For further information about measles, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/

Information about the MMR vaccine can be found by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/mmr-vaccine/

My source:   https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/warning-over-measles-outbreak-after-1535443
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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