Warning over measles outbreak

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MEDICS are warning the Manx public after an outbreak of measles in England.

There have been 46 confirmed cases and 50 suspected cases in the North East since September 2012. The outbreak in the North West is continuing with 40 confirmed cases from Heysham and Morecambe, with the majority of the cases are in children. Measles is extremely infectious and children who are not immunised are at a high risk of developing measles. Measles can be a serious illness and should not be dismissed as a common childhood ailment.

In the North East, a quarter of cases required hospital treatment. In the North West, a third were hospitalised and some of them needed intensive care treatment for the serious complications of measles.

The most effective way to prevent measles is by vaccination.

Two doses of MMR vaccine will give a high degree of protection.

MMR is normally offered when a child is around 12 to 13 months of age and a second dose is offered at three years and four months.

The Manx Department of Health offered the following advice to parents:

Ensure that your child has had the recommended two doses of MMR, if old enough to have received it. If the child has not, please make an appointment with your GP surgery for vaccination. If you are unsure whether your child has had the two doses of MMR, please check with your GP surgery.

If you think your child has measles (fever and skin rash) – DO NOT attend A & E, MEDS or your GP surgery. If you require medical advice, please telephone for advice and only if advised to do so attend A & E, MEDS or your GP surgery.

DO NOT send your child to school for at least four days after the onset of rash. In some cases the child may still be unwell after four days; in this case keep your child at home until he/she feels well enough to attend school.

Ensure that the affected child minimised any contact with pregnant women, people who have weak immune systems and babies who are too young to be vaccinated.

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