Swansea's Morriston Comprehensive School hit by suspected outbreak of measles
ANOTHER Swansea school has been struck by a suspected outbreak of measles.
Around 16 pupils at Morriston Comprehensive School are believed to have caught the infection, as the virus continues to spread across the region.
Letters have been sent home to parents advising them to contact their local GPs with any concerns.
The school is the latest to take action following an outbreak of the infection among pupils.
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Amongst them is Parkland Primary in Sketty Park, which has held a clinic offering vaccinations to staff and pupils, after a number of pupils were suspected of catching the virus.
In total, 64 secondary and primary schools and nurseries have been affected by the illness, with numbers of new cases doubling weekly, and Public Health Wales said the spread was a "serious concern".
The only protection against the infection is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination, and one of the reasons suggested for the outbreak in the region is that the number of people having the vaccine has been lower than in other parts of the country.
Swansea GP Charlotte Jones said: "A lot of reasons for that has been historical relating to the flawed evidence about some links with the vaccine with other childhood illnesses, and I think that made parents not want to give their child the vaccination. Unfortunately that has meant that the community coverage in this area has been lower than that required to stop the spread of an outbreak, and unfortunately we are now seeing the effects of that despite us trying hard to encourage parents and children to have the vaccination.
"Parents have not wanted to harm their children, but there is no problem with the safety of the vaccine."
Public Health Wales said concerns were growing that it was a matter of time before a child was left with serious and permanent complications such as eye disorders, deafness, or brain damage. It can even result in death.
The majority of the new cases are in the Swansea area, but cases are being reported across South East Wales. Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Public Health Wales said they were working closely to combat the outbreak.
Although people of any age can get measles, it's most common among those aged between one and four, but the outbreak in the Swansea region is particularly affecting teenagers, whom Dr Jones described as "most unwell".
Also vulnerable are those with chronic illness, and impaired immune systems, as well as pregnant woman.
Dr Marion Lyons, director of health protection for Public Health Wales, said: "We cannot emphasise enough that measles is an illness that can kill, or leave people with permanent complications including severe brain damage, and the only protection is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.