Health chiefs looking for 200 people after suspected measles outbreak in Essex

3 October 2019, 14:56

There has been a suspected measles outbreak in Essex
There has been a suspected measles outbreak in Essex. Picture: Getty Images

There's been a measles outbreak warning as 200 people have been offered vaccinations in Essex.

Health officials are currently trying to get in touch with around 200 people to offer them measles vaccinations after a suspected outbreak.

Eight people are being treated for the disease in Essex, all of whom attended a day service for people with learning disabilities.

And it’s now believed a large number of people may have come into contact with the patients at the day service so could be at risk themselves.

Southend council bosses are working with Public Health England (PHE) to identify anyone who was directly exposed.

They will be offered the MMR vaccination if they’re not already immunised.

Residents in Essex are being offered Measles jabs after an outbreak
Residents in Essex are being offered Measles jabs after an outbreak. Picture: Getty Images

A Southend Council spokesman said: "Collectively, we are adopting a precautionary approach to this situation to help interrupt any potential further spread.

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"As an immediate priority, and alongside our colleagues at the Clinical Commissioning Group and Southend Care (who run day services for people with learning disabilities), we are identifying and contacting those people who may have been directly exposed and are offering those people MMR vaccinations if they are not already immunised.

"At this time, we expect this offer will be made to approximately 200 people."

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The spokesman added: "Southend Care have closed Project 49, in Alexandra Street, for the rest of the week, and we have advised a small number of other day services in the area to close today, as a precautionary measure."

Measles is a highly infectious disease and can be fatal if not treated, with symptoms including coughing, rashes and fever.

The illness can be prevented with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine which is given as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme in the UK.

One dose is given when children are about a year old, with a second usually given at three years and four months.

According to Public Health England (PHE), coverage with the first dose of the MMR vaccine was down to 90.3 per cent in England in 2019, from 91.2 per cent in 2018.

What are the symptoms of measles?

According to the NHS website, measles starts with cold-like symptoms that develop about 10 days after becoming infected. This is followed a few days later by the measles rash.

The initial symptoms of measles can include:

- a runny or blocked nose

- sneezing

- watery eyes

- swollen eyelids

- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light

- a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)

- small greyish-white spots in the mouth

- aches and pains

- a cough

- loss of appetite

- tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy

- the measles rash

You should contact your GP as soon as possible if you suspect that you or your child has measles.