Public Health England (PHE) South East is urging people to check they are up-to-date with two doses of MMR vaccine following two confirmed cases of measles in Berkshire. Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can lead to serious complications, especially in people with immune problems, pregnant women, and in babies younger than one year. It is extremely infectious, can strike anyone and sadly in some instances can have very serious long term and life changing consequences.
The best form of protection against measles is the MMR vaccination. It is really important that anyone who hasn’t already had two doses of the MMR vaccine contacts their GP surgery for an appointment to get vaccinated. If you’re unsure whether you or your children have had two MMRs, first check your child’s Red Book or contact your GP. You do not need additional MMR vaccines if you and your children have all had two doses.
Thanks to vaccinations like the MMR, measles is not as common in the UK as it once was, but in recent years we have seen more cases emerging, especially among groups and communities where MMR vaccination rates are not as high.
Symptoms typically include:
• high fever (temperature of 39°C or higher)
• sore, red, watery eyes
• aching and feeling generally unwell
• a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears 2-4 days after the initial symptoms.
If you suspect you or your child may have measles, you should contact a GP as soon as possible. It’s best to phone before you visit as your GP surgery may need to make arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. If you think you could have measles, it’s really important to stay away from places where you could come into contact with lots of people – so do not go to work or school, visit hospital or attend social gatherings until at least four days after the onset of the rash.
Cllr Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “I am concerned that Slough has the lowest vaccination rates for the MMR in Berkshire, so the potential for measles to spread is higher than elsewhere. There were two confirmed cases in Berkshire just before Christmas – one in Bracknell and one in Wokingham. I urge residents to contact their GP for an appointment to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already had two doses of the MMR vaccine. If you are unsure about how many doses you’ve had, please contact your GP.”
For more information on measles visit NHS Choices: nhs.uk/conditions/measles/