Local families are being asked to ensure their immunisations are up-to-date, following an increase in measles cases over recent weeks across London and Surrey.
People most at risk are those that haven’t had measles before and have not had two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. Babies, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women are most at risk.
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 40 degrees C (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.
Measles is potentially a very serious illness that can cause complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and can on rare occasions be fatal. It is highly infectious and is spread through direct contact with an infected person or through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Houda Al Sharifi, Richmond Director of Public Health, said:
“Parents must ensure children are fully vaccinated. Measles isn’t a harmless childhood disease and you can never tell who will go on to develop more serious complications).
“Please check that you and your children are fully immunised and have had both doses of the MMR vaccine. Ask your GP if you are not sure if you are immunised, and check your child’s red book to see if they need a jab.
“It’s never too late to get the vaccine as it can be given at any age for free if you missed out. Just get in touch with your local GP!”