Health bosses in Cheshire West are warning parents to be on the lookout for symptoms of measles following an outbreak of the highly contagious illness in nearby Liverpool.
Schools and nurseries throughout the borough have issued guidance to parents and guardians on behalf of Public Health England after cases of measles affecting unimmunised children were confirmed in Merseyside.
Families are being urged to make sure their children have received the MMR vaccine.
But Public Health England is also warning members of the public that measles ‘is not just a little kids’ problem’.
“Teenagers, young adults and anyone who has missed their MMR vaccination can get measles,” says Dr Joanna Cartwright, a consultant in health protection for Public Health England Cheshire and Merseyside.
She explained: “It can cause serious illness and can sometimes be fatal. Vaccination with two doses of MMR is the only way to protect children and young people.
“The first MMR vaccine is given to toddlers at the age of 13 months and the second injection at around three years and four months before your child goes to school. MMR can be given to older children, teenagers and young adults if they missed their injections when they were younger.
“Contact your GP practice if your child needs an MMR vaccine. The vaccine is free. If you are not sure if your child needs an MMR vaccine, you can contact the GP to ask.
“Don’t turn up to the surgery, walk in centre or to Accident and Emergency without calling ahead. The doctor will make special arrangements to see your child so that if your child has measles – they won’t pass it on to others.”
The first signs of measles are fever, a cough, runny nose and red sore eyes.
After a few days, a spotty rash appears. It starts on the face and neck and spreads to the rest of the body.
People with measles are urged to stay away from school, nursery, work and anywhere they may come into contact with may others for five days after the onset of the rash.
For more information about measles, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles.