Thirty eight hospitalised as measles cases in Swansea outbreak reaches 252
HEALTH chiefs in Wales are urging parents to make sure their children receive the MMR vaccination as cases in the Swansea area outbreak reach 252, with 43 new cases reported in the past week alone.
A total of 38 people - one in six who have contracted measles in this outbreak - have been hospitalised.
Concerns are growing that 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 even dies.
The disease has now spread to children in 64 secondary and primary schools and nurseries across the area with numbers of new cases doubling weekly.
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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 continue to work closely together to combat the outbreak.
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.
“We are urging parents of unvaccinated children to make immediate arrangements with their GP for their children to receive the safe and highly effective MMR vaccine.
“Children who have not been fully immunised face a life-long risk of catching measles.”
Dr Lyons added there were certain groups, including children under one year of age, pregnant women who have neither had the infection nor vaccines, cancer patients and those with a weakened immune system for whom the MMR vaccine was not appropriate.
“The current pattern of cases and spread of illness indicates that this outbreak is likely to continue into the summer months and the risks to unvaccinated individuals will increase as more people become infected,” she said.