We are seeing much higher than normal levels of measles in London this year, including in Southwark schools. Measles spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools, and is a nasty illness and in some children can be very serious and lead to hospitalisation and in rare cases tragically can cause death.
People in certain at-risk groups including babies and young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity, are at increased risk of complications if they catch measles. Vaccination with 2 doses of MMR is the only way to protect children and young people. The first MMR vaccine is given to toddlers at the age of 13 months and the second injection at around 3 years and 4 months before your child goes to school. MMR can be given to older children, teenagers and young adults if they missed their injections when they were younger. Contact your GP practice if your child needs an MMR vaccine. The vaccine is free. If you are not sure if your child needs an MMR vaccine, you can contact the GP to ask.
Measles is not just a little kids’ problem. Teenagers, young adults and anyone who has missed their MMR vaccination can get measles.
The first signs of measles are:
- Cough, runny nose and red sore eyes
- After a few days, a spotty rash appears. It starts on the face and neck and spreads to the rest of the body.
If you think your child has measles, ring your GP practice for advice. Don’t turn up to the surgery, walk in centre or to Accident and Emergency without calling ahead. The doctor will make special arrangements to see your child so that if your child has measles – they won’t pass it on to others. Keep people with symptoms of measles away from others to avoid spreading measles, and stay away from school, nursery or work for 5 days after the onset of rash. Travel advice: There are large outbreaks of measles currently in Romania, Italy or Germany. Make sure you are up to date with your MMR vaccine if you are planning to travel to these countries.
If you would like more information, see https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/