Concern over Welsh measles outbreak

Tags: children

A growing measles outbreak could leave children unprotected by the MMR jab seriously ill.

The warning from health chiefs comes as cases of the infection have risen to 252 in Swansea and across south-east Wales.

Officials say 43 new cases have emerged in the Swansea area in the last week alone.

So far 36 people have been hospitalised with the condition and Public Health Wales (PHW) is urging parents to ensure their children receive the MMR vaccination, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

Youngsters who have not been fully immunised against the potential killer disease face a lifelong risk of catching measles.

"We cannot emphasise enough that measles is an illness that can kill, or leave people with permanent complications including severe brain damage," said Dr Marion Lyons, PHW director of health protection.

"The continuing spread of the disease in the Swansea area means that it is only a matter of time before we have a child whose health is seriously damaged by measles."

In total, 64 secondary and primary schools and nurseries across the area have been affected, with numbers of new cases doubling on a weekly basis.

The MMR vaccine is not appropriate for a handful of vulnerable groups in the population, including children under one, pregnant women who have had neither infection nor vaccines, cancer patients and those with weakened immune systems.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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