Public health officials fear that youngsters in South West Wales could face a new outbreak of measles because hundreds of children are still not fully immunised.
Today they began vaccinating at Cwmtawe school in Pontardawe after one confirmed case and two suspected cases were diagnosed there. A further two cases are suspected at a school at Abercrave, further up the Swansea Valley. Rob Osborne reports.
Public Health Wales says there are a further four suspected cases of measles connected with a school in Neath Port Talbot.
Pupils at Cwmtawe School are due to be offered the MMR jab from tomorrow, after one child was confirmed to have measles on Friday.
Public Health Wales say two further suspected cases have been identified in the school and two other cases in Ysgol Y Cribarth, Powys, which are connected to the Neath Port Talbot cases.
This cluster of measles cases comes only three months after the end of Wales’s biggest ever measles outbreak, which was centred on the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board area, so we are obviously concerned and want to act quickly. Although we vaccinated more than 75,000 people during the outbreak, we are aware of more than 30,000 children in the 10 to 18 age group who remain unvaccinated in Wales and have always warned that this could lead to another outbreak.
We have written to all parents of unvaccinated children in Cwmtawe School and Ysgol Y Cribarth to urge them to arrange for their children to be vaccinated.
In the meantime, to prevent the spread of infection, we would urge parents of any children who become unwell with measles-like symptoms over the weekend to keep them at home and seek medical advice, and not to allow them to attend events where other children will be present
Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM says the Welsh Government and local health board are well versed in dealing with measles after the Swansea outbreak. He says they are aiming to 'get on top' of what he described as a 'small outbreak' before it gets any bigger.
Public Health Wales is warning that there could be an outbreak of mumps here, because too many young people have still not had an MMR vaccination.
In Wales, there have been the following confirmed cases of mumps:
76 so far this year, until the end of May
88 for the whole of 2012
77 for the whole of 2011
More than 50,000 unscheduled MMR vaccinations have been given across Wales since the outbreak of measles began. The public health body says young people between 10 and 18 have been hardest hit by the outbreak - and there are still 35,000 in this age group unvaccinated.
There is a very real concern that while we have too few people aged 10 to 18 vaccinated with MMR in Wales, they are at risk of mumps as well as measles.Mumps is always circulating in Wales but the number of cases we have seen this year is particularly high.
This [measles] outbreak has shown us how quickly infection can spread between people who are not vaccinated.
The message remains that these infections can be extremely serious and anyone not fully vaccinated is at risk. If you are not vaccinated, now is the time to contact your GP.
– Dr Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales
The number of cases in the measles outbreak centred on Swansea have risen by 20 in the last week, to reach 1,191.
Dr Marion Lyons from Public Health Wales said the outbreak "has slowed significantly, but parents should not believe this is the last we will see of measles in Wales if large numbers remain unvaccinated."