Health officials in England are reporting an increase in measles cases in 2018, according to a Croyden Advertiser report. So far this year there have been 250 cases of measles reported (with at least 90 of those laboratory confirmed) in London – compared to 243 reported in the capital for the whole of 2017.
The report notes while MMR vaccine uptake in London is good for the first dose, at 91% uptake by age 5, it falls to just 77% for the second dose by age 5 – the lowest of any region in the country.
Some London boroughs have an uptake of below 70% for the second dose.
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. The measles virus is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after you’re infected.
These can include:
- cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
- small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks
A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.
Measles can be unpleasant, but will usually pass in about 7 to 10 days without causing any further problems.
Once you’ve had measles, your body builds up resistance (immunity) to the virus and it’s highly unlikely you’ll get it again.
However, measles can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications in some people. These include infections of the lungs (pneumonia) and brain (encephalitis).