Warning that Swansea measles outbreak could last into the summer, causing disruption to holidays and exams
THE measles outbreak sweeping through schools is likely to continue into the summer — bringing disruption to holiday plans and to thousands of students sitting GCSE and A-level exams.
The warning comes as the number of cases of the highly contagious disease tops 316 in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot — with 64 new cases in the last week alone.
The outbreak also appears to be spreading, with youngsters in Llanelli and Cardiff falling ill, and the fear that tens of thousands of children and teenagers in other parts of Wales could now be at risk.
Since the outbreak the disease has spread to children in 111 secondary and primary schools, along with nurseries and playgroups, upping the risk that unvaccinated children will come into contact with those with the illness.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
A total of 42 people have so far been hospitalised.
In Llanelli, cases have soared by 300 per cent compared with last year.
There have been eight cases reported in the town so far this year, compared to 15 throughout 2012.
And experts have warned it is only a matter of time before a youngster is left with serious and permanent complications, including eye disorders, deafness or brain damage.
Dr Marion Lyons, director of health protection for Public Health Wales, said: "The current outbreak will almost certainly continue into the summer months with potentially serious impacts for children sitting important exams, such as GCSEs and A-levels. Holiday plans may well also suffer if the disease continues to spread."
The outbreak has largely been focused on the Swansea Bay area, but with signs it might be spreading, many parents in Cardiff and the South Wales valleys are being sent letters urging them to get children vaccinated if they have not done so already.
Dr Joanna Longstaffe, clinical director of Swansea's Independent General Practice, called on all parents to ensure their children were protected.
She said: "Both as a mother of four — and as a doctor — I have confidence in the safety of the triple MMR.
"Measles is often much more than 'just a rash and a temperature' — it is a life-threatening infection which can leave permanent damage.
"All vaccines carry a small risk but the risk of measles infection and serious complications is statistically very, very much higher.
"Whether you wish to give your child a triple MMR — or pay for single measles vaccine privately — is your choice, but my advice would be to protect your child or teenager against measles as soon as you can arrange."