Health chiefs warning of measles outbreak

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PARENTS are being told to be on the lookout for signs of measles after outbreaks in neighbouring boroughs.

Health chiefs have sent out warnings following confirmed cases in Bolton and other parts of Greater Manchester amid fears an outbreak could hit Wigan just before Christmas.

Outbreaks have been confirmed at two schools in Bolton and health chiefs are warning that the same could happen in Wigan at any moment.

Dr Rosemary McCann, Interim Director of the HPA’s Greater Manchester Health Protection Unit, said: “This has been the worst year we’ve seen for measles for many years. It’s a highly infectious disease that spreads easily amongst people who aren’t fully immunised against it.

“Thankfully MMR uptake rates amongst young children are now high and continuing to improve, but we are seeing cases in older unvaccinated children, teenagers and adults who were not fully vaccinated as children. We’re also seeing measles in babies and toddlers who are too young to be vaccinated. These young babies will always be vulnerable when there’s measles in a family or in the community generally.

“Our advice is quite clear. Parents should have their children vaccinated at the appropriate times.

“Parents of older children who weren’t vaccinated as children should speak to the family doctor and arrange for them to be vaccinated now. Teenagers and young adults who missed out on immunisation as toddlers should understand that it is never too late. They should speak to their GPs and ask if it is appropriate for them to be vaccinated now.”

The HPA is advising people with symptoms of measles to stay away from school, nursery or work until five days have elapsed after the onset of a rash and telephone your GP or NHS walk-in centre before attending so that arrangements can be made for you to be treated in isolation from other patients.