Residents urged to get measles jab

Published: 13 April 2016

There has been an increase in measles cases in London, and Wandsworth residents are urged to make sure they and their children are immunised for their own protection and to prevent the disease spreading across the borough.

During the last two months there have been 41 cases in London, with two in Wandsworth over the past week. Adults are at risk as well as children – one of the Wandsworth cases was a person in their 20s.

Measles is potentially a very serious illness that can cause complication 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. 

The council works with local GPs to make sure enough local people are immunised to prevent an outbreak of the disease.

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.

“Please check that you and your children are fully immunised and had both doses of the MMR vaccine. Ask your GP if you are not sure if you are immunised, and check your child’s red book to see if they need a jab

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 should 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

Read more about the myths surround MMR and autism.

Read a press release on the recent measles cases from Public Health England.