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Measles outbreak confirmed in Preston

Posted on - 8th March, 2024 - 10:35am | Author - | Posted in - Health, Preston News
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi is urging vaccination to stop the spread of measles Pic: Lancashire County Council

Health officials have confirmed a measles outbreak has reached Preston.

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Lancashire’s director of public health has issued a statement following a rise of measles cases in England and the North West.

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Blog Preston understands to be classed as an outbreak there has to be around five cases within a short period of time.

Lancashire County Council said they would not be releasing information about the exact number of cases or where they were located in the city.

Read more: Lancashire health chiefs unite to issue measles alert and urge vaccination

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Dr Sakthi Karunanithi is urging parents to look out for symptoms and to take up vaccination against measles.

He said: “I can confirm that we have had a measles outbreak in the Preston area.

“While the numbers are currently low in Lancashire, measles is highly infectious and can spread quickly among communities, such as schools and nurseries, particularly if people are not up to date with their MMR vaccine.

“One in five children will need a hospital visit if they become unwell with measles and around one in 15 measles cases can have complications such as meningitis, sepsis and blindness.

“The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and is the best protection against becoming seriously unwell.

“There are two types of MMR vaccine, and one does not contain pork gelatine. You can request a vaccine without pork gelatine from your GP practice when you book your appointment.

“If any of your children have missed any of their MMR vaccines, contact your GP surgery to book an appointment.”

Symptoms of measles include a runny nose, cough, high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red-brown rash.

Anyone who thinks they or their child might have measles is asked to call their GP or 111 for advice, and should not turn up at a GP, walk-in centre or other healthcare setting without calling ahead.

Read more: People hit by E.Coli outbreak ate Mrs Kirkham’s cheese in prepared meal in first class train carriage

The UK Health Security Agency said there have been 733 cases in England since the 1 October last year.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, UKHSA Consultant Epidemiologist, said: “Worryingly we are continuing to see an increase of measles cases in some areas, most recently in parts of the North-West, where we know MMR vaccine uptake is low.

“Parents are already coming forward to take up the offer of the MMR vaccine for their children, but 100s of thousands of unvaccinated children are at risk of serious illness or life-long complications. The disease spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in schools and nurseries, however measles is completely preventable with vaccination.

“Our recently launched childhood vaccinations campaign is reminding parents of the importance of getting their children vaccinated on time. Parents can check their child’s Red Book to see they are fully up to date with their MMR jabs and all their routine vaccines. If any have been missed or if you’re unsure get in touch with your GP practice and respond promptly if the NHS gets in touch for your child to catch up.”

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