There are large outbreaks of measles occurring across the world as reported in media channels including the BBC. In the last couple of months there have been several outbreaks in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Luton. The majority of confirmed measles cases occurring in England are in those aged under 15 years who have not been fully immunised with MMR. Two doses of the MMR vaccine offer the best protection for your child against measles.
Measles is highly infectious and is easily spread in the community. If your child contracts measles
they are at risk of serious complications including deafness, pneumonia, and swelling of the brain.
Sadly 10% of people who become ill with measles will die from the disease or have complications
associated with it.
The low uptake of MMR vaccine in Luton may be because there are two MMR vaccines one with porcine and one without porcine, both equally as effective. A lot of GP practices use the porcine one (more easily available) and do not flag up there is an alternative and should be offered to anyone who has a problem with the porcine content. It is nearly always the practice nurse who gives the vaccinations so parents, young people and adults need to ask for measles vaccine without the porcine content.
The symptoms are high fever, rash and children feel generally unwell, with most spending 5 days in bed. Some of the related complications are ear and chest infections, fits, infection of the brain, brain damage and in 1 in 5000 cases, it is fatal. Children need to be vaccinated with the first dose given at 1-year old and then again at 3 years 4 months.