New call for people to get jab as measles cases continue to rise

Published: Monday 16th May 16

There has been a fifth measles case confirmed in Wandsworth, and the council’s public health team has repeated its call for local people to get themselves and their children inoculated.

The increase is part of  a London-wide outbreak of the disease this year, with adults as well as children affected.

Measles is potentially a very serious illness that can cause complications and can on rare occasions be fatal. It is highly infectious and is spread through direct contact with an infected person or through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. One child in ten that catches the disease requires hospital treatment. 

The council is working with local GPs to make sure enough local people are immunised to prevent an outbreak of the disease. It launched a major publicity campaign to encourage people who have not been vaccinated to get the MMR jab, including projecting measles ‘spots’ onto the town hall (below).

Letters have also been sent to parents via schools warning them about the dangers of the disease and how to protect against it.

People at risk are those that have not had two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, or haven’t had the infection before – particularly babies, those with weakened immune systems or who are pregnant.

“Parents must ensure their children are fully vaccinated. Measles isn’t a harmless childhood disease and you can never tell who will go on to develop more serious complications of pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain),” said Wandsworth’s director of public health Houda Al-Sharifi.

“It’s never too late to get the vaccine as it can be given at any age for free if you have missed out. Just contact your local GP.

Notes to Editors

Measles – symptoms and treatment:

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 40 degrees C (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 seven to ten days.

A person is infectious to others from four days before to five days after the rash has started. If measles is suspected or diagnosed then the person who is unwell should remain in isolation until five days after the rash has started.

Anyone experiencing 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.

For more information visit NHS Choices

 

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