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Suffolk parents urged to get their children vaccinated against measles

Suffolk parents are being urged to ensure their children are vaccinated as the number of measles cases increases nationally.

Although the number of cases in Suffolk is currently low, it is important to get vaccinated to ‘prepare for and protect’ against the potential for increased cases.

SuffolkNews understands the MMR vaccination coverage across the county is 89.1 per cent – higher than the national coverage at 84.5 per cent.

iStock images of measles / MMR immunisation
iStock images of measles / MMR immunisation

Stuart Keeble, director of public health at Suffolk County Council, said: “We are seeing an increase in measles cases nationally and while cases in Suffolk are currently low, we should prepare for and protect against the potential for increased cases.

“Vaccines are the best possible defence against measles, mumps and rubella. If your child has not been fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, now is a good time to get this done to protect them.”

Nationally, there have been 347 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England, with 127 of these cases in January.

Immunisation stock image. Picture: Pixabay
Immunisation stock image. Picture: Pixabay

The majority of cases – 67 per cent – are in in children aged under 10. Seventy-five per cent are in the West Midlands.

In the latest publish data, for the week ending January 21, no suspected cases of measles were reported in Suffolk.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, UK Health Security Agency consultant epidemiologist, said: “MMR vaccine coverage has been falling for the last decade, with one out of 10 children starting school in England not protected. There is a real risk this outbreak could spread to other towns and cities.

“Measles is a nasty illness for most children and for some can be serious, but it is completely preventable. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your children.”

Check your child is up to date with their MMR vaccinations by looking at their personal health record (red book) or by asking their GP.

The early symptoms of measles can look like other illnesses: runny nose; cough; conjunctivitis. The child may also have a high fever.

The distinctive rash of measles begins around day three of the illness, when a rash of flat red or brown blotches appear, beginning on the face, behind the ears and spreading over the body.

Measles is highly contagious. Any child thought to have measles should not be sent to school.

Where possible, to avoid passing the infection on to others, NHS 111 or the GP should be called for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E.

Further details about measles can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles