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Community urged to vaccinate against measles to combat rising cases

Tameside health organisations are warning people to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date and be alert for measles as clusters of confirmed cases are starting to emerge in the region.

Data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows 24 cases of measles have been reported in the North West between 1 October 2023 and 13 February 2024. This is an increase of 14 cases on data published the week before. Most of these cases are in Greater Manchester.   Tameside Council is working with the UKHSA and partners across Greater Manchester as part of a coordinated effort to monitor the situation, provide advice and support local communities to be aware of action they can take to protect themselves, including getting vaccinated.

Cllr Eleanor Wills, Tameside Council Executive Member for Population Health and Wellbeing, said: “As we've seen fewer children getting the MMR vaccine lately, it's really important that parents and carers understand how serious measles can be, especially for little ones. By making sure your child gets their MMR vaccine, you're not only keeping them safe but also helping to protect everyone around them. Let's make staying healthy a priority and get our kids vaccinated today."

Debbie Watson, Director of Public Health at Tameside Council, said: "Lots more measles cases have been appearing lately, showing us how important it is to get vaccinated. The MMR vaccine stops measles from spreading, and it's super easy to get. If you or your child haven't had all their jabs yet, don't worry – just book in for a catch-up appointment. Let's work together to keep measles away and keep our children healthy."

Symptoms of measles appear 7-10 days after contact with the virus and include:

  • cold-like symptoms such as a runny or blocked nose, sneezing and coughing
  • red, sore, watery eyes
  • high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40OC / 104OF
  • a non-itchy, red-brown rash usually appears 3-5 days later (sometimes starts around the ears before spreading to rest of the body), spots may be raised and join to form blotchy patches – which may be harder to see on darker skin tones
  • small white spots may appear inside cheeks and the back of lips (for a few days)

More information about the symptoms can be found here: www.nhs.uk/measles.

Measles spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools. People in certain groups, including babies, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity, are at increased risk of complications from measles.

Measles is a serious disease that can affect anyone who isn’t protected. It can be a very unpleasant illness and, in some people lead to hospitalisation and even death in rare cases. Measles can lead to serious problems if it spreads to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain, possibly causing pneumonia, meningitis, blindness and seizures (fits).

Anyone under 25-years-old should prioritise having the MMR vaccination if they haven’t received it before or have only had one dose. Patients can confirm vaccination records for themselves or their children through the NHS app, red book or checking with their GP practice.

If children are missing one or more doses of the MMR vaccine, they may be invited to have a catch-up dose through their school. For children invited to a catch-up vaccine, parents are encouraged to take up this offer. However, these vaccinations are also available from a GP practice.

When someone or a member of their family develops any symptoms of measles, they should contact their GP practice by phone. It's important not to go to the GP, walk-in centre, or any other healthcare setting without calling ahead, as measles is highly infectious.

 

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