Last week I double checked the girls’ red books just to make sure that all three had definitely had both doses of the MMR vaccine (Mumps, Measles, Rubella).
I’m seeing an increasing number of news stories about pockets where there have been outbreaks – Disneyland being a particularly headline grabbing one – and whilst most of these have been in other countries, I think it’s going to be a serious issue in the UK. By the way, in 2000, the US declared that it had eliminated measles.
I’m not going to even begin to debate about the pro-vaccine v anti-vaccine camps, I’m far too ignorant about all of the issues involved. All I do know is that I’m very happy that a quick look at their records did confirm they’d had both doses of the vaccine.
There was much negative publicity about the MMR vaccine and this was enough to put many parents off getting it for their children. Again, I’m not going to go into that, but it does mean that the uptake of this particular vaccination is severely reduced.
Measles is extremely contagious, so much so that 90 percent of those who aren’t immunised would catch it if they were exposed. It’s airborne and can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours after an infected person has left, and it is transmittable before it can be diagnosed. Children who are too young to have had the first dose or second dose of the MMR vaccine are obviously at risk as are children with illnesses such as cancer who can’t be vaccinated and children who are immunocompromised.
I hope I’m wrong about a big UK outbreak, but as the children return to school after half-term, I’m starting to fear the worst.
Here’s what the NHS says about measles with some of the signs and symptoms:
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and can sometimes lead to serious complications. However, it’s now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of the MMR vaccination.
The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after you are infected. These can include:
- cold-like symptoms
- red eyes and sensitivity to light
- a high temperature (fever)
- greyish white spots in the mouth and throat
After a few days, a red-brown spotty rash will appear. This usually starts behind the ears and then spreads around the head and neck before spreading to the rest of the body.
Read more about the symptoms of measles.