Nine children have been confirmed positive for measles in Birmingham, prompting local health officials to call on the public to get vaccinated, according to a local media report.
Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands tweeted earlier today that they are working with the Birmingham City Council to ensure the word gets out about the MMR vaccine.
Dr Bharat Sibal, a PHE consultant said, “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.”
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).
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