You may have seen in recent news that measles cases in the West Midlands are rising.
Measles is a very infectious viral illness and usually starts with cold-like symptoms which can include a high temperature, a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, a cough, sore red eyes and a rash.
It spreads very quickly to non-immune children and adults who are unvaccinated or have not previously been infected. Most people will recover completely within a couple of weeks however the virus can cause very serious illness and sometimes this can lead to permanent disability and even death.
People in certain at-risk groups, such as young children, people who are pregnant and those with a weakened immunity, are at increased risk of complications if they catch measles.
The best way to prevent measles is by having the MMR vaccination however the West Midlands MMR uptake rate is below national targets. The full (two dose) MMR uptake rate in Worcestershire is the highest in the region. However, there are still some children and adults not vaccinated, posing a significant risk to health.
We are encouraging children, parents and staff to check that they, and all family members are up to date with their MMR vaccine and if required arrange for a free MMR catch up vaccination via their GP.
It is also worth considering that if adults or children are unvaccinated and have been in contact with a confirmed measles case, on risk assessment, they may be asked by UK Health Security Agency to remain away from a place of work / educational setting etc for 21 days.
If anyone has symptoms of measles, please stay at home and phone your GP or NHS 111 for advice. Do not go to GP surgeries or A & E departments so the illness isn’t spread to others.
For more information on measles and the MMR vaccine please visit: Measles - NHS (www.nhs.uk)