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Measles: Remaining unvaccinated 'not worth the risk'

Public Health Wales has warned that the continuing spread of measles is 'very concerning', adding that it is 'simply not worth the risk' to remain unvaccinated.

This is a potentially nasty infection that can easily be prevented with a safe, effective vaccine and we would not see measles in Wales if enough children and young people were vaccinated.

Uptake of the MMR vaccine in small children is the highest it’s ever been in Wales but we still have a large number of children and teenagers aged 10 to 18 who are not vaccinated.

Our message to them and their parents is that they are at risk from an infection that hospitalised 88 people earlier this year in Wales and killed one person.

– Dr Jörg Hoffmann, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales

Three new cases of measles reported in latest outbreak

Parents are still being urged to get their children vaccinated as a fresh outbreak of measles continues Credit: Klaus Rose/DPA/Press Association Images

Three new cases of measles have been reported in the Neath and Swansea area.

There are now 39 confirmed cases in the latest outbreak, which has affected four schools in the region.

Yesterday Public Health Wales and three local health boards published their report into the biggest outbreak of measles in Wales since the introduction of the MMR vaccination.

It said a 'get tough' approach was needed to stamp out the illness, which it described as 'very serious'.

Over 1,202 people have contracted measles since November last year, with one fatality and 88 hospitalised.

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'Get tough' approach needed to stamp out measles

by Dean Thomas

Health experts have recommended a 'get tough' approach to tackling measles following an epidemic that claimed the life of one man and left 1,200 others ill across south and mid Wales.

The so-called 'aggressive control' policy could result in unimmunised children being excluded from school if a close contact develops the disease.

Health chiefs have also warned that 10 to 18-year-olds are now the most vulnerable as a fresh outbreak spreads a year on from the start of the original epidemic.

Public Health Wales: Measles is a 'serious illness'

The director of health protection for Public Health Wales has described measles as a 'serious illness', adding: "No parent or young person should believe it cannot happen to them."

The report into the outbreak shows how four cases of measles contracted by children from Wales visiting a holiday camp in England became more than 1,200 cases in the space of eight months.

The only guarantee against catching measles is receiving the full two doses of the MMR vaccine, and while we have 30,000 children and young people still needing vaccination, we can't assume we will not see further outbreaks of this scale.

– Dr Marion Lyons, Public Health Wales

One person died and 88 were admitted to hospital during the outbreak.

Measles: Authorities 'must work to eradicate infection'

A review into Wales' biggest measles outbreak says authorities still need to do more to eradicate the infection, which began in 2012.

Here's what you need to know:

  • There were originally only four cases of measles found in November last year
  • 1,202 people contracted the infection, 88 were hospitalised and one person died
  • During the outbreak period, 77,805 vaccines were administered
  • Two doses of the MMR are 99% effective in protecting against measles
  • It is believed 42,000 Welsh children are still not protected against the infection
  • Swansea and Port Talbot have the highest record of cases between 2012-13

Public Health Wales: 'More children need measles jab'

A review into Wales' biggest measles outbreak has called on authorities to strive to eradicate the infection.

The Public Health Wales review gives recommendations to the NHS, local authorities and the Welsh Government on future protocols when dealing with a measles epidemic.

Parents are still being urged to get their children vaccinated after further cases were found in Swansea last month.

Over 1,202 people have contracted measles since November last year.

Public Health Wales officials are concerned this number could grow if children don't receive both doses of the MMR vaccine.

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Measles cases at three schools, college and nursery

There have been measles cases reported at two primary schools, a further education college, and a nursery - in addition to cases at Cwmtawe School in Pontardawe.

We now have cases not only in Cwmtawe School but also in two primary schools, a further education college and a nursery – and in all of these places there are unvaccinated children and young people who could easily catch and spread measles.

Parents who have decided not to vaccinate their children are not only risking their children’s health, but are putting other children at risk, children either too young to be vaccinated or with medical conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated.

We are very frustrated to see more cases of measles in the area so soon after the large outbreak earlier this year and we are very keen for this to be stopped before it can get any bigger and we return to a position where children are admitted to hospital or die or are damaged by the disease.

The only way to achieve that is through vaccination and I urge parents whose children have not received two doses of MMR to ensure that they speak to their GP immediately to arrange this quick, safe and effective vaccine.

– Dr Jörg Hoffmann, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales

Public Health Wales says it wants to remind parents that children need two doses of MMR for the maximum 99 per cent protection against measles.

The virus is very contagious, can cause serious complications and even be fatal.

The symptoms of measles include: fever, fatigue, runny nose, conjunctivitis, a distinctive red rash.

Public Health Wales is urging anyone who thinks they or their children has the symptoms should contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

Measles warning after number of cases rises again

Public health officials are warning that the number of measles cases has risen to 14, after an outbreak earlier this year.

There are now 13 cases linked to Cwmtawe School in Pontardawe, and a case of suspected measles with no apparent links to the school, at a nursery in the Swansea area.

Health chiefs have warned that thousands of children in Wales still haven't had two doses of the MMR vaccine. Credit: PA

Public Health Wales says there is "potential for the outbreak to spread quickly", unless children who have not received two doses of the MMR are vaccinated urgently.

Two weeks ago, vaccination clinics were held at the secondary school in Pontardawe, after the first case was confirmed.

The last outbreak, centred on Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, was declared over in July, having started last November.

It resulted in more than 1,200 cases.

"Booster" measles jab urged

The new measles cases bring the current total to nine. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Public Health Wales is urging parents to ensure their children have the second MMR "booster" jab, as four more cases emerge of measles

Two cases have already been confirmed as experts continue to focus on Cwmtawe School, in Port Talbot, where the new cases have been reported.

A vaccination session was held there last week.

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