Measles warning for West Country parents

20 August 2018, 14:16 | Updated: 20 August 2018, 14:17

Measles jab

Parents are being urged to make sure their children have had the MMR vaccine before heading back to school.

It follows a widespread outbreak of measles in Bristol, since January there has been 86 confirmed cases and 20 probable. 

Measles is preventable through the safe, effective MMR vaccine which is offered as part of the childhood immunisation programme. Children usually receive the vaccine within a month of their first birthday and ahead of starting school at 3 years 4 months. 

Dominic Mellon, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health England South West, said: “Unfortunately, we know that the school environment provides a perfect place for infections to circulate and spread. 

“This is why we are asking parents to add the MMR vaccine to their back to school lists.

“If your child catches measles, apart from feeling very unwell they will also miss out on several days at school. 

“We know life can get busy with children. If you can’t remember, just contact your GP who will be able to check your child’s records. 

“If they have missed a dose, a catch up vaccine can easily be arranged by contacting your GP. 

“As I said, measles is a really unpleasant viral illness, starting with cold like symptoms such as runny nose, high temperature and sore eyes. 

“A few days later the distinctive red-brown blotchy rash will appear. Usually starting on the head or neck and then spreading outwards to the rest of the body. “Once the distinctive rash appears, they should stay away from school for at least four days. This is to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.” 

Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for Communities and Equalities at Bristol City Council, said: "I'd strongly encourage parents and carers to check whether their children have been immunised before the start of term. 

“Measles is highly contagious and can be very nasty, so if you or your children need it then don't put off vaccination. It is quick and easy to get and really is the best protection for everyone." 

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