Measles cases spreading in Neath Port Talbot
MORE measles cases have been identified in Neath Port Talbot.
There are now three cases associated with Cwmtawe School, Pontardawe, one of which has been confirmed by laboratory scientists.
And two probable cases have been identified in children in Ysgol Y Cribarth, Abercrave, who are connected to the confirmed case at Cwmtawe.
Tomorrow morning some 200 Cwmtawe pupils are due to be vaccinated, while similar arrangements are being put in place for the much smaller number of unvaccinated children at Ysgol Y Cribarth.
Two doses of MMR are needed to provide the maximum 99 per cent protection against measles.
The symptoms of measles include a fever, fatigue, runny nose, conjunctivitis and a distinctive red rash.
Measles is very contagious and can cause serious complications and in rare cases can be fatal.
Vaccinating a sufficient proportion of the population creates a “herd immunity”, which effectively stops the measles, mumps and rubella viruses in their tracks.
Jorg Hoffmann, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said: “This cluster of measles cases comes only three months after the end of Wales’s biggest ever measles outbreak, which was centred on the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board area, so we are obviously concerned and want to act quickly.
“Although we vaccinated more than 75,000 people during the outbreak, we are aware of more than 30,000 children in the 10 to 18 age-group who remain unvaccinated in Wales and have always warned that this could lead to another outbreak.
“We have written to all parents of unvaccinated children in Cwmtawe School and Ysgol Y Cribarth to urge them to arrange for their children to be vaccinated.”
Dr Hoffmann added: “In the meantime, to prevent the spread of infection, we would urge parents of any children who become unwell with measles-like symptoms over the weekend to keep them at home and seek medical advice, and not to allow them to attend events where other children will be present.”
The first dose of MMR is usually given to babies at 12 months of age and the second at three years and four months of age, but it is never too late to catch up on missed doses.
A measles outbreak started in the Swansea area last winter and spread to Mid Wales.
By the time it was over in July, it had resulted in 1,219 cases in the ABMU, Hywel Dda and Powys health board areas. Nearly 90 people went to hospital during the outbreak, more than 75,000 people were vaccinated, and there was one measles-related death.
- If you think your child has measles contact your GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.