Immunisation fears as measles epidemic slows

A measles epidemic in south Wales is beginning to slow down – but not enough young people are immunised against the disease, health officials have warned.

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.

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

Marion Lyons, the organisation’s health protection director, said: “The outbreak centred on Swansea has slowed significantly, but parents should not believe this is the last we will see of measles in Wales if large numbers remain unvaccinated.

“This outbreak has shown us how quickly measles can spread between people who are not vaccinated and how serious an infection it can be.

“While we have tens of thousands of people between 10 and 18 not vaccinated, who continue to mix with one another at school and at social events, we can’t rule out another large outbreak in the coming months or years.”

Dr Lyons added: “If you are not vaccinated, now is the time to contact your GP.”

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