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Birmingham measles cases prompt MMR vaccination call

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People in Birmingham are being encouraged to check that they, their children and teenagers have had two doses of MMR vaccine following confirmation of cases of measles within the city.

Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands is working with Birmingham City Council and local NHS partners to make sure that anyone in the city who needs an MMR vaccination is aware, following confirmed cases of measles in children in Birmingham. Most of the recent cases had not received the required two doses of MMR vaccine.

Consultant in Health Protection with Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, Dr Bharat Sibal, said: “Those affected in Birmingham are all recovering but it’s important to be aware that measles can be a very serious illness and lead to severe complications, especially in people who are particularly vulnerable or have other health conditions.

“Measles is a highly infectious viral illness. If you think you could have measles, it is really important to stay away from areas where you could come into contact with lots of other people – especially vulnerable patients in hospitals, care homes or other settings.

“I would urge anyone with symptoms to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E, to prevent the illness spreading further. It is possible for anyone at any age to get measles and the illness can be more severe in teenagers and adults than in young children.”

Public Health England (PHE) has reported an increase in measles across the country over the year.

Dr Sibal added: “The free MMR vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting against measles, as well as mumps and rubella. It’s particularly important for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children when offered at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years, four months of age. If children and young adults have missed these vaccinations in the past, it’s important to take up the vaccine now from GPs, particularly in light of the recent cases in Birmingham. Check your child’s Red Book to see if they’ve received MMR vaccinations as scheduled, or check with your GP surgery if you’re unsure.”

Measles symptoms to be aware of include:

  • high fever
  • sore, red, watery eyes
  • coughing
  • aching and feeling generally unwell
  • a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.

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