People are being urged to stay at home and contact their GP or NHS 111 for advice if they suspect they could be suffering from measles
We are part of the Trust Project
A measles warning has been issued by health chiefs after outbreaks were reported in two major UK cities.
The NHS has announced that Leeds and Liverpool have been hit by the highly infectious bug in separate outbreaks.
All of the cases are in children and young adults who haven’t received the MMR vaccine with health officials advising anyone who missed the jab should visit their GP.
The disease can lead to serious chest infections, ear infections, brain swelling and, in some cases, brain damage.
Younger children are particularly vulnerable but anyone with weakened immune systems – such as cancer patients – are also at risk.
People are being urged to stay at home and contact their GP or NHS 111 for advice if they suspect they could be suffering from measles.
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone suffering from measles is also advised to contact their doctor.
Last year outbreaks were reported in the South West of England and London, while earlier this month outbreaks were reported in Dublin and Meath in Ireland.
The NHS also warns that there are ongoing measles outbreaks in Romania, Italy and Germany.
What health officials say
A tweet by NHS Choices said: “There is an outbreak of measles in both Leeds and Liverpool. This infectious viral illness is easily spread and can lead to complications.
“Ask your GP about the vaccine if you, or your children, haven’t had 2 doses. See the full list of symptoms here: http://nhs.uk/measles ”
Meanwhile Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, told Mirror Online: “We are currently are seeing measles circulating in Liverpool and Leeds in two separate localised outbreaks, which are being managed by local health protection teams.
“All of the cases we are seeing are in children and young adults who haven’t received the MMR vaccine.
“Although the UK recently achieved WHO measles elimination status, due to ongoing measles outbreaks within Europe, we will continue to see imported measles cases in the UK in unimmunised individuals and limited onward spread can occur in communities with low MMR coverage and in age groups with very close mixing.
“This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children when offered at 1 year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years, four months of age.
“If children and young adults have missed these vaccinations in the past, it’s important to take up the vaccine now from GPs, particularly in light of the recent cases in Liverpool and Leeds.
“We’d also encourage anyone to ensure they have the MMR jab before travelling to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks like Romania, Italy and Germany.”
What is measles?
According to NHS Choices , measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications.
It’s now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of vaccination.
Anyone can get measles if they haven’t been vaccinated or they haven’t had it before, although it’s most common in young children.
The infection usually clears in around 7 to 10 days.
What are the symptoms?
The initial symptoms of measles can include:
- a runny or blocked nose
- watery eyes
- swollen eyelids
- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
- small greyish-white spots in the mouth (see below)
- aches and pains
- a cough
- loss of appetite
- tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy
A day or two before the rash appears, many people with measles develop small greyish-white spots in their mouth.
Not everyone with measles has these spots, but if someone has them in addition to the other symptoms listed above or a rash, it’s highly likely they have the condition.
The spots will usually last for a few days.
The measles rash appears around 2 to 4 days after the initial symptoms and normally fades after about a week
You’ll usually feel most ill on the first or second day after the rash develops.
- is made up of small red-brown, flat or slightly raised spots that may join together into larger blotchy patches
- usually first appears on the head or neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body
- is slightly itchy for some people
- can look similar to other childhood conditions, such as slapped cheek syndrome, roseola or rubella
- is unlikely to be caused by measles if the person has been fully vaccinated (had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine) or had measles before
When should you seek medical advice?
- You should contact your GP as soon as possible if you suspect that you or your child may have measles.
- It’s best to phone before your visit as your GP surgery may need to make arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.
- You should also see your GP if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has measles and you’ve not been fully vaccinated (had two doses of the MMR vaccine) or haven’t had the infection before – even if you don’t have any symptoms.