Ensure Your Child Is Protected Against Measles

Parents in Trafford are being urged to ensure their children are up to date with their MMR jabs after a case of measles was confirmed recently in the borough.

Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group and the Public Health team at Trafford Council are warning parents to be vigilant and make sure their children have received both doses of the MMR vaccination.

We are continuing to see cases of measles in Greater Manchester and this year, so far, there have been three confirmed cases of measles in Greater Manchester.

There have also been large outbreaks of measles across Europe so during the summer holidays parents are being advised to make sure their children are up-to-date with their vaccinations before travelling abroad. Young adults who may also have missed vaccinations in childhood and who may also be travelling abroad, visiting festivals where large numbers of people are gathering or who will shortly embark on their studies at university are also being advised to make sure they have received their inoculations.

In 2016-17, 96.8% of children in Trafford turning five had received the first dose of MMR, with 95.4% receiving the second dose. This means we are  just above the vaccination level the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says is required to prevent outbreaks of measles at 95%. The ECDC warns that areas in which fewer than 95% of the population are vaccinated are at a heightened risk of a measles outbreak. However, early figures for January to March 2018 there show a slight drop in vaccination rates. In Trafford we need to maintain our current high performance if we are to keep the likelihood of an outbreak down. Because the vaccination cannot normally be given before the age of one, young babies are at particular risk in the event of an outbreak.

Dr Mark Jarvis, Medical Director at Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect against measles. It also protects against mumps and rubella, two other highly infectious conditions.

“Babies are usually given the first MMR jab around their first birthday, as part of their routine vaccination schedule. The second is usually given after they turn three. The MMR vaccine is free. Immunisation is quick and simple, and an appointment with your practice nurse will only take a few minutes.”

Eleanor Rolf, Interim Director of Public Health at Trafford Council said: “We have a confirmed case of measles in Trafford, so we would ask parents to be vigilant and also that everyone should make sure that they have had both doses of MMR. Don’t forget that teenagers and young adults may also be at risk of measles if they are not fully immunised, especially if they are travelling abroad .Check your child’s Red Book and if you think you may have missed a vaccination or are unsure, please contact your GP.”

Measles symptoms include a fever, irritability, cold-like symptoms including a running nose, sore and runny eyes, dry ‘croupy’ cough, white spots on the gums (second and third day), rash (third or fourth day) starting on the face and behind the ears, then spreading down the body.

If your child displays any of these, and has not had both MMR injections, contact your GP immediately. Parents shouldn’t send their children to playgroup, nursery school or holiday club for four days from the onset of the rash.

Information on measles can be found at the NHS Choices website.