Parents urged to get children vaccinated as measles cases soar in Bristol
Public health boss tells parents to ask their GP if they're not sure whether their chid is up to date with vaccinations
PARENTS in South Bristol have been urged to make sure their children are up to date with their MMR jabs after a huge surge in cases of measles.
This time last year, there had been only two confirmed cases of measles in the city in the first eight months of the year.
This year, there have been 86 confirmed cases of measles in Bristol since January, with another 20 suspected cases.
The disease usually only makes child feel very unwell for a few days, but if it's left untreated measles can be serious.
There have been 14 people hospitalised with measles in the South West this year.
In about one case in 1,000 it can be fatal – with small children and babies most at risk.
Rates of MMR vaccination fell after a scare in the late 1990s that it might be linked to autism. This was disproven, and doctors warn that not having the jab can be deadly.
There have been 37 measles deaths in Europe this year after a surge in cases across the continent, especially Eastern Europe but also including France.
Despite the overwheleming weight of scientific evidence that the MMR vaccine is safe, and saves lives, anti-vaccination scaremongering persists. The Guardian reports today that Russian trolls are spreading disinformation about vaccines online as part of a state-backed effort to sow social discord, especially in the US.
Dominic Mellon, consultant in communicable cisease 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.
“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.”