MMR plea over measles outbreak risk to children

Health chiefs have renewed an urgent warning that a growing measles outbreak could leave children unprotected by the MMR jab brain-damaged or dead.

Sixty-four extra cases in the Swansea area of South Wales in the last week have seen the numbers affected rise to 316. It follows a similar warning last week when 43 extra cases were reported.

Forty-two people among the affected group have been admitted to hospital so far after contracting the disease, Public Health Wales (PHW) said today.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The disease has spread to children in 111 secondary and primary schools, nurseries and playgroups throughout the area.

It brings with it a rising risk that unvaccinated children will come into contact with those already infected.

Dr Marion Lyons, PHW director of health protection, warned: “We cannot emphasise enough that measles is an illness that can kill.”

The majority of cases recently reported are in the Swansea area but cases are increasingly being reported across the Mid and West Wales region, with smaller numbers also now being reported across Wales.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Parents of all children in Wales aged between one and 18, who have not been fully vaccinated, are being urged to contact their GPs to arrange vaccination.

“Measles is such an infectious disease that around 90 per cent of unvaccinated people who come into contact with cases will catch it,” Dr Lyons said.

“You only need one or two people who haven’t had the vaccination to put at risk babies, toddlers and anyone else who is vulnerable, such as children with leukaemia who cannot have the vaccination and pregnant women who haven’t been vaccinated.

“We cannot emphasise enough that measles is an illness that can kill, or leave people with permanent complications including severe brain damage. The only protection is the safe and highly effective MMR vaccine.”

Related topics: