THE Health Protection Agency (HPA) North West has renewed its plea to parents to vaccinate their children with two doses of MMR vaccine following a measles outbreak in Cheshire.
Three laboratory confirmed cases and a further 11 probable or possible cases have been reported in the Sandbach and Middlewich areas. Further laboratory test results are awaited.
One child needed hospital treatment but has since recovered and been allowed to go home. MMR vaccination has been offered to household and other close contacts according to national guidelines.
Dr Sam Ghebrehewet, consultant in health protection with the HPA’s Cheshire and Merseyside Health Protection Unit, said: “It’s worrying that we potentially have 14 cases of measles in Cheshire and my fear is that we will see further outbreaks, here and elsewhere in the region.
“There has already been a large outbreak in the Blackpool area of Lancashire and a small outbreak in the Manchester vicinity.
“That is why it is so important for all children and young people up to the age of 18 to be protected by two doses of MMR vaccine and our Primary Care Trust partners are working with schools and GP practices to get that message across to parents, guardians and young people themselves.
“Children and young people who have not had the benefit of two doses of MMR vaccine will be vulnerable to measles, mumps and rubella and there is a lot of measles about at the present time. The risk is real.”
Dr Ghebrehewet stressed that measles is a serious illness that can cause complications such as meningitis and encephalitis. On rare occasions, it can kill.
Anyone with concerns or seeking information about the MMR campaign should consult their family doctor.