Measles outbreak sparks jab plea
PARENTS are being urged to make sure their children receive the MMR vaccination, as health bosses investigate an outbreak of almost 190 reported cases of measles in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
A total of 189 cases of measles have been diagnosed in people living in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board area since November, with cases in 32 secondary and primary schools and nurseries.
Twenty cases have been notified in the last week alone, and up to 60 children are believed to have received vaccinations at one Swansea school following a suspected measles outbreak. A clinic was held at Parkland Primary, in Sketty Park, when staff were also offered the vaccination.
Public Health Wales is reminding parents the only protection against the potentially fatal disease is receiving two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. Children should receive the first dose of the vaccine at 12 to 13 months of age and the second at three years and four months of age.
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Parents of children aged 1 to 18 who have not been fully vaccinated should contact their GP and arrange vaccination as soon as possible, while those whose vaccination record is unclear, or who have just received one dose of MMR, should also contact their GP.
Dr Marion Lyons, director of health protection for Public Health Wales, said: "We continue to be concerned at the number of cases of measles we are seeing in the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot areas. We cannot emphasise enough that measles is an illness that can kill, or leave patients with permanent complications including severe brain damage, and the only protection is two doses of the MMR vaccination.
"As children have been admitted to hospital because of this outbreak of measles, we fear it is only a matter of time before someone dies or is left permanently affected by measles.
"People most at risk of catching it are children of school age who have not had two doses of MMR. We estimate there are more than 8,500 school-age children at risk of measles in the ABMU area at present due to their MMR status.
"Children should have their immunisation record checked at the beginning of primary and secondary school, and on leaving secondary school."