Parents are being urged to check their children are up-to-date with two doses of MMR vaccine.
The advice comes after measles outbreaks in other parts of the country and some countries in Europe. With people travelling and gathering for Christmas celebrations and New Year celebrations, measles is highly infections and could easily spread.
Measles symptoms to be aware of include:
• high fever
• sore, red, watery eyes
• aching and feeling generally unwell
• a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and can sometimes lead to serious complications, especially in people who are particularly vulnerable or have other health conditions. It is possible for anyone at any age to get measles and the illness can be more severe in teenagers and adults than in young children.
It is really important that anyone who hasn’t had two doses of the MMR vaccine contacts their GP surgery to get up-to-date. If you’re unsure whether you or your children have had the vaccine, check your child’s Red Book or contact your GP surgery to find out. You do not need to seek additional vaccines if you and your children have had two MMR vaccines in the past.
If you’re planning to go to these countries, contact your GP to arrange an appointment for vaccination before you travel, if you’ve not received two doses of MMR in the past.
If you’re concerned that you or your child may have measles, please do not go to A&E or your GP surgery straight away. Instead telephone your GP or ring NHS 111 for advice. This will prevent measles being spread to other people who may be vulnerable. If you think you have symptoms and your surgery is closed for the festive period, telephone NHS 111 for advice.
Children and MMR
The free MMR vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting against measles, as well as mumps and rubella. It is particularly important for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children when offered at 1 year of age and as a pre-school booster at 3 years 4 months of age. If children and young adults have missed these vaccinations in the past, it’s important to take up the vaccine now from GPs.
Adults and MMR
Adults who missed out on the MMR vaccination as a baby and are therefore not immune can have the MMR vaccine on the NHS.
Pregnancy and MMR
If you're considering becoming pregnant, it's a good idea to check that you're fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella. Rubella infection in pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects and miscarriage. If you're not sure you've had two doses of the MMR vaccine, ask your GP practice to check. If you haven't had both doses or there's no record available, you can have the vaccinations at your GP practice. You should avoid becoming pregnant for one month after having MMR vaccination.
If you're already pregnant
The MMR vaccine cannot be given while you're pregnant, but it can be given when you're breastfeeding. If you're currently pregnant and you're not sure whether you've had two doses of MMR, ask your GP practice to check your records. If you haven't had two doses of the MMR vaccine or there's no record available, you should ask for the vaccine when you go for your six-week postnatal check-up after the birth. This will protect you from rubella in any future pregnancies. If you're pregnant and develop a rash or come into contact with anyone who has a rash, you should contact your GP or midwife immediately – even if you've had two doses of the MMR vaccine.