Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to check that they have received two doses of Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Measles following an increase in confirmed cases over the past few weeks.
Since the beginning of February 2016, 20 cases of Measles have been confirmed across London and the East of England. Most of the cases are in people aged between 14 and 40 years who have not been immunised. Many of these patients have been admitted to hospital.
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. Although usually a mild illness in children, Measles can be more severe in adults.
Dr Kevin Brown, Deputy Director of the Virus Reference Department at Public Health England, said: “While Measles is now relatively uncommon in England thanks to the MMR vaccine, those who are unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated, remain susceptible to the disease.
“The cases we have seen recently have been confirmed mainly in adolescents and young adults. It’s important to be aware that it’s never too late to have the vaccine, so if you’ve not received two doses of the vaccine in the past – or you’re unsure – speak to your GP. There’s no harm in receiving an additional dose where there is any uncertainty.
“Also remain alert to Measles, which can include cold-like symptoms, sore red eyes, a high temperature or a red-brown blotchy rash. If you experience these symptoms seek medical attention, but be sure to phone ahead before you visit your GP surgery so arrangements can be made to prevent others from being infected.
“You should also see your GP if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has Measles and you’ve not been fully vaccinated (had two doses of the MMR vaccine) or haven’t had the infection before – particularly those who are immunosuppressed, pregnant or infants.”
Measles signs and symptoms
The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after a person is infected. These can include:
- cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.
Symptoms usually resolve in about 7 to 10 days.
Find more information on Measles at NHS Choices