Cases in the Swansea measles epidemic rise
PUBLIC Health Wales have released new figures on the measles outbreak in Swansea, showing another rise.
There have now been 1,039 cases of measles in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, Hywel Dda and Powys health board areas – an increase of 28 since Tuesday.
Eighty-five people have been hospitalised. Across the whole of Wales the total is 1,170.
Although more than 33,000 non-routine vaccinations have been given across Wales during the outbreak, only just over 8,000 of those were in the 10 to 18 age group — the group hardest hit by the outbreak.
This still leaves almost 43,000 unvaccinated in that age group, and parents and young people are urged to act immediately.
Data released by Public Health Wales yesterday confirmed that the MMR vaccination had been more than 99 per cent effective in the current outbreak, with fewer than 10 confirmed cases in people who had previously been vaccinated.
The number of laboratory confirmed cases in the outbreak stands at 370 out of a total of 850 samples tested.
Dr Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: "The efforts to vaccinate susceptible young people and children across Wales have been excellent, with non-routine vaccinations being given in their thousands by GPs, in schools and in emergency drop-in clinics.
"This undoubtedly will have reduced the length and severity of the outbreak, but the number of unvaccinated people in the hardest hit age group remains a cause for concern.
"Our message is clear — the MMR vaccine is safe and it works, and there is no reason why children not vaccinated in the late 1990s because of fears about the safety of the vaccine should not be immunised now.
"While not enough 10-18 year olds in particular are vaccinated, this outbreak can easily spread anywhere in Wales.
"Therefore we urge young people themselves and the parents of children to take up opportunities to receive the MMR vaccine as a matter of urgency.
"Vaccination sessions are continuing in schools throughout Wales and I urge pupils and their parents to take advantage of these.
"Those not vaccinated are highly likely to catch measles, which is highly contagious. It is just a matter of time before a child is left with serious and permanent complications such as eye disorders, deafness or brain damage, or dies."