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Measles epidemic 'begins to slow down'

A measles epidemic that swept across south Wales is beginning to slow down, health experts have said. However they warn that not enough young people are immunised against the disease.

Not enough young people are getting the jab, health experts have warned. Credit: PA

According to Public Health Wales (PHW), six new cases have been reported since Tuesday.

This brings the total number of those who have contracted measles in the past six months to 1,158. That compares with 19 cases for the whole of 2011.

PHW officials said almost 2,500 non-routine MMR jabs have been given out within the past week.

Read more on ITV Wales.

Fears after 13 new measles cases Wales in two days

Public Health Wales is warning of its concerns that outbreaks of measles may start to be seen outside of the Swansea area as cases continue to be reported across Wales.

There have now been 1,074 cases of measles in the area affected by the outbreak – an increase of 13 in the last two days – and 1,237 across the whole of Wales.

A measles vaccination kit Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Dr Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: “Thirteen new cases in the last two days may not seem like a lot, but it should be remembered that in 2011, we only saw 19 measles cases in the whole of Wales for the whole of the year.

“There is no way of knowing where the next outbreak could strike so the message is simple – wherever you live in Wales, if you are a young person who hasn’t received two doses of MMR or the parent of a child who hasn’t, please arrange vaccination urgently".


Public Health Wales urge people to receive MMR jab

The efforts to vaccinate susceptible children in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board area have been tremendous and we are delighted to see that around half of children needing vaccination have now received the MMR.

But with around 50,000 children in the 10 to 18 age group still not vaccinated, and more than 1,000 cases now reported to us, we cannot be complacent.

While not enough children are vaccinated, this outbreak can easily spread anywhere in Wales.

Therefore we urge parents of children, and young people themselves, to take up opportunities to receive the MMR vaccine as a matter of urgency.

– Dr Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales

Swansea measles outbreak tops 1000 cases

The number of measles cases recorded in the Swansea outbreak - which started last November - has passed 1,000, Public Health Wales said.

Some 1,011 cases have now been recorded and 9,000 people aged between 10 and 18 still need to be vaccinated.

In the last month, 4,000 people have received the MMR jab.

But Public Health Wales has warned that the country as a whole needs to replicate Swansea's response to the outbreak, with 50,000 10 to 18 year-olds still unvaccinated across Wales.


Children at private schools 'most at risk' from measles

A measles outbreak has hit the UK. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Children at private schools face the greatest risk from the measles outbreak and could pose a health threat to the rest of the population, a leading doctor has warned.

Professor John Ashton said Britain's 600,000 privately-educated children were at much greater risk of infection than those in the state sector.

Prof Ashton said a mix of large numbers of middle-class children who were not vaccinated against measles following the Wakefield scare in the 1990s, along with pupils from overseas with unknown health records, meant schools could become "reservoirs of disease", the Daily Telegraph said.

He said the risk was similar to that from groups such as gypsies and travellers, who have previously spread the disease.

Prof Ashton, who will soon become president of the Faculty of Public Health, said: "You've got a lot of middle-class, well-off parents, large numbers of whom did not have their children immunised because of the Wakefield scare - which was a very middle-class phenomenon.

"Layered on top of that you have got a lot of children from abroad, especially from the Far East, from countries such as Hong Kong and China, and there are few checks being done to establish their immunisation records."

Campaign launched to immunise one million children

Health officials in England have launched a campaign to immunise a million children, aged between 10 and 16, with the MMR vaccine following an outbreak in Wales. They warned further measles outbreaks could occur 'anywhere'.

Special clinics are being set up in schools and GP surgeries at a cost of £20 million. There's already been a worrying rise in cases in the north-east and north-west.

Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty reports:

Teeside children get vaccinated amid measles outbreak

Secondary school children have rolled up their sleeves to receive the MMR jab in Teesside, one of the areas worst affected by the measles outbreak.

Around 70 children, more than 10 percent of the pupils at All Saints School in Ingleby Barwick, received the jab in the dinner hall after their parents consented.

Lucy Butler,15, prepares to have her measles jab at All Saints School in Ingleby Barwick, Teesside. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Professor Peter Kelly, chairman of the Tees Outbreak Control Team, said there were 186 confirmed cases on Teesside since the new year, with a similar number suspected.

"It's quite a serious problem on Teesside," he said. "We have been aware of it since it started in mid-January and we have been working with our GP colleagues."We wrote to parents six or seven weeks ago to advise them to take their children, if they weren't vaccinated, to the GPs.

"We felt the extra step of coming to schools would give us that really comprehensive coverage of children we need to catch."There is a myth that it is just a childhood illness. People can be very poorly with measles and there can be some very serious complications."

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