Twitter Q&A over measles epidemic

Dr Kate Ardern

Dr Kate Ardern

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ONE of Wigan’s top health experts will face the public in a move to reassure people over the measles epidemic which has hit the borough.

Dr Kate Ardern, Wigan borough’s executive director of public health, will host a question and answer session on the online social media site, Twitter on Thursday evening.

The move comes as it was announced that hundereds of children could be at an increased risk from the virus as they did not receive their MMR booster injection before their fifth birthday.

Statistics show that 366 children now aged between 10-14 (10 per cent of those eligible) did not have BOTH MMR vaccinations by their fifth birthday (according to the 2006 statistics) putting them at great risk of catching Measles.

Experts recommend that children have their first MMR vaccination jab within a month of their first birthday followed by a booster injection before their fifth birthday.

Last week it was revealed that there were 55 confirmed cases in Wigan this year alone – scores more than any other part of Greater Manchester.

Health chiefs have said that the number of 10-16 year olds who missed out on the controversial MMR vaccination in the late 1990s and early 2000s is behind the epidemic which has hit the borough.

Experts at the Public Health England say that it is imperative to now stem the flow of the virus or the borough could risk the same problems faced by Swansea in South Wales which has seen one fatality and hundreds of cases.

In response to the outbreak, a £20m vaccination campaign was launched this week targeting school-age children in England who have not been immunised against measles and are now at risk of catching the disease.

To ask a question of Dr Ardern about Measles or the MMR vaccine log on to twitter.com and follow @WiganCouncil at 5pm on Thursday, May 2.