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Measles Outbreak Posted or Updated on 16 Jan 2024

Parents across the Black Country are being urged to make sure children are up to date with their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab, following an increase in measles in the West Midlands.

Measles is a highly infectious disease which can lead to serious complications such as severe lung infections and inflammation of the brain. It also damages and suppresses the whole immune system, meaning children can be left much more susceptible to catching other illnesses. 

It can spread quickly among communities, such as schools and nurseries if children have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Symptoms of measles include:

  • high temperature
  • runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • cough
  • red, sore, watery eyes
  • rash, which usually appears a few days after cold-like symptoms (sometimes it starts around the ears before spreading to the rest of the body).

When they turn one, all children are invited for their first MMR vaccine on the NHS. The second dose is given when they reach three years and four months of age. Having two doses of the vaccine provides the best protection against MMR.

Adults and older children can also be vaccinated at any age if they have not been fully vaccinated before and are being encouraged to come forward if they haven’t had two doses.

The NHS has created a video of a local infection prevention nurse sharing the symptoms of measles to look out for and the ways to keep your child safe with the MMR vaccine. You can watch the video on YouTube here.

Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective combined vaccine, which protects against three serious illnesses - measles, mumps, and rubella.

“Measles is a highly infectious virus which spreads very easily, especially in schools. While most people recover completely within a couple of weeks, measles can cause very serious illness for those in certain at-risk groups including babies and small children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

“There’s no specific medical treatment for measles, so it’s important to get vaccinated as it’s the best protection against becoming seriously unwell. If your child has not yet had the MMR vaccine or hasn’t had both doses, you should call your GP and book an appointment as soon as possible.

“Anyone with symptoms is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting their GP surgery or A&E, to prevent the illness spreading further.”

Parents who are unsure if their child is up to date with all their routine vaccinations should check their child’s Red Book (personal child health record), check the NHS app, or contact their GP practice.

For more information about measles visit the NHS website.

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