Thousands still at risk from measles outbreak in Wales continues to grow

 

The measles outbreak in Wales is “showing no signs of going away” despite last weekend’s measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination drive, health officials have warned.

Another 73 cases have now been reported – bringing the total number of those infected in the Swansea area to 693. Public Health Wales is continuing to urge parents of unvaccinated children across the nation to act immediately to ensure they are protected against the potentially fatal disease.

Further drop-in vaccination clinics are planned this week following emergency clinics held last weekend. Although more than 2,600 MMR vaccines were received in the Swansea area last week, doctors warn that this is not enough to control the outbreak.

Marion Lyons, the director of health protection at Public Health Wales, said at least 6,000 children remained unvaccinated in South-west Wales. “This outbreak is showing no signs of going away,” she added. “We are delighted to see parents starting to arrange vaccination for their children but the numbers simply aren’t high enough to bring the outbreak under control when 6,000 children remain at risk from measles in the Swansea area alone.”

Typical symptoms of measles include fever, cough, conjunctivitis and a rash. Complications are quite common even in healthy people, and in about 20 per cent of reported measles cases, patients experience one or more complications. These can include ear infections, vomiting and diarrhoea, pneumonia, meningitis and serious eye disorders.

Before the introduction of the MMR jab in 1988, about half a million children caught measles each year in the UK. Approximately 100 of those died. But concerns over the jab’s safety were raised in the late 1990s when a surgeon published a since-discredited paper suggesting it was linked to an increased risk of autism.

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