Measles Surge Emphasises Vaccination Need
I was concerned to read there has been a surge in cases of measles in Europe in 2017, with more than 250 in the United Kingdom.
With such effective prevention available, this number is far too high for a condition which can be very unpleasant and have potentially serious complications.
A simple measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine protects you from the virus which in rare cases can prove to be fatal. I urge anyone unsure whether they or their child has been vaccinated to contact their GP. Prevention is of course far better than cure!
Thankfully the risk to the United Kingdom is still low, but the ongoing measles outbreaks in Europe highlight the vital importance of the vaccination.
The MMR vaccine is usually given to a child when they’re 12-13 months old and a second dose is given before they start school, usually between three and five years old.
However, you can be vaccinated at any point if you haven’t had the jab before. If you’re not sure whether you were vaccinated in the past, having it again won’t cause any harm and would dispel any concerns.
A dose of the MMR vaccine can also be given to anyone over six months of age if they’re at an immediate risk of catching measles, such as if there has been an outbreak in the area. For babies under six months, there is also the option of Human Normal Immunoglobulin (HNIG), a special concentration of antibodies that can give short-term but immediate protection against measles.
I would strongly advise anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to ensure that they get the protection as soon as possible. Measles symptoms are nasty and can include cold-like symptoms, red eyes that may be sensitive to light, a fever and small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks.
A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.
Uncommon complications include liver infection and misalignment of the eyes, while in rarer cases it could lead to heart and nervous system damage. If an unvaccinated pregnant lady was to contract measles, this could tragically lead to a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
I cannot stress the importance of getting a vaccination enough. At the very least you need to be able to spot the symptoms such as red eyes if you’re not protected by the vaccine. You must visit your GP if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has measles and you’ve not been fully vaccinated.
Thankfully most people are safe when it comes to measles, but this needs to be the case for absolutely everyone. Nobody should be missing out on this effective vaccine.