People in the West Midlands are being urged to check that they, and all family members are up to date with their MMR vaccine, following confirmation that measles is circulating in the region.
Since 1 October 2023, there have been 19 confirmed cases in the West Midlands, with an increasing number of likely cases.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) West Midlands is working with local authorities and local NHS partners to make sure that anyone in the region who needs an MMR vaccination is aware that there is an increased risk of catching measles.
The individuals currently affected are all recovering, but hospital treatment was necessary for a few. Most of the measles cases we’re seeing have had no doses of the MMR vaccine.
Symptoms of measles appear 7-10 days after contact with the virus and include:
cold-like symptoms such as runny or blocked nose, sneezing and cough
red, sore, watery eyes
high temperature (fever)
a non-itchy, red-brown rash usually appears 3-5 days later (sometimes starts around the ears before spreading to rest of the body), spots may be raised and join to form blotchy patches – which may be harder to see on darker skin tones
small white spots may appear inside cheeks and the back of lips (for a few days)
If you have the symptoms of measles, it is essential that you don’t just turn up at your GP practice, walk in centre or other healthcare setting. Instead, you should contact your GP or NHS111 for advice.
If you do need to visit your GP practice, walk-in centre or other healthcare setting, please phone ahead so arrangements can be made to prevent other people being infected.
During coronavirus (COVID-19), there has been a significant drop in children getting vaccinated with MMR and other childhood vaccines. For maximum protection it is recommended that people have two doses of the MMR vaccine.
The MMR vaccine is part of the routine NHS schedule of childhood vaccines administered:
- 1st dose just after the child’s first birthday
- 2nd dose at 3 years 4 months and certainly before children start school full time
Measles is a viral infection most commonly found in young children who have not been immunised. However, adults can also catch measles if they have not had it before or have not been immunised against it. One person infected by measles can infect nine out of 10 of their unvaccinated close contacts.
Matt Pearce, Service Director for Public Health, Herefordshire Council said:
“Herefordshire has historically performed well on our uptake rates of the MMR vaccine.
“However, our rates remain lower than the 95% that is needed to achieve and sustain measles elimination and stop the spread of disease as measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious conditions.
“Two doses of the MMR vaccine helps provide the best protection against all three of these conditions I urge parents and carers to check that their children are up to date with their MMR vaccine.”
If you have any questions regarding the MMR status in your children, please contact your GP surgery who will be able to advise. For more information please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/mmr-vaccine/