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Parents reminded of importance of vaccine as Gwent measles cases rise to 17

30 May 2024 3 minute read
Photo Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Public health officials are reminding parents and carers to ensure their children are fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine, as cases in the Gwent measles outbreak rise to 17.

There have been eight new cases since the last figures were released at the end of April.

The new confirmed cases are in people who have been identified as close contacts of previous cases, rather than resulting from further spread in the community.  No new cases have been identified since 20 May.

Travel

Health officials are also advising families who are planning to attend mass events or who intend to travel internationally over the summer months to ensure their children are vaccinated to reduce the risk of transmission.

Beverley Griggs, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales (PHW) and Chair of the multi-agency Outbreak Control Team, said: “Thanks to the support of parents and carers in Gwent, we have not seen extensive spread of measles in the community during this outbreak.

“However, to prevent further transmission of the virus, and to protect the most vulnerable in our community, it’s important that everyone eligible has both doses of the MMR vaccine.

“We are also taking this opportunity to remind parents and carers that they should ensure their children are fully vaccinated ahead of attending mass events during the summer.  We know that measles transmits easily when people are in close proximity to one another.

“People should also ensure they get vaccinated if they are travelling abroad, especially to countries where measles vaccination rates are lower.

“Parents and carers can check the MMR vaccine status of their child by checking their child’s red book, or visiting their local health board website.”

PHW stresses that measles can be prevented by the highly effective and safe vaccine. Two doses of the MMR vaccine is more than 95 per cent effective at preventing measles.

Babies

The first dose of MMR is usually given to babies at 12 months of age and the second just after three years of age.

However, if children are visiting countries of high incidence of measles an MMR vaccine can be given from six months of age with further doses being given in line with the routine scheduled from 12 months.

Measles can be a serious illness for children but can be caught at any age.

Adults who have never had measles or the MMR vaccine and who are in close contact with children are also urged to ensure they speak to their GP about vaccination.

Unvaccinated individuals pose a health risk to themselves and vulnerable populations, including babies, pregnant women who have not received the vaccine, older people and those with weaker immune systems.

More information on MMR is available at  https://phw.nhs.wales/eligibility-for-the-mmr-vaccine/


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