MMR [Updated May 2023]
You may be aware that UKHSA have are investigating increased cases of measles in England since January 2023. Cases so far identified include children and adults; many with recent travel history.
Uptake of the MMR vaccine among children has also seen a steady decline over the last few years which means more of the population are potentially exposed to infection.
As we enter the warmer months, we can expect increased mixing in a variety of settings including at festivals, through foreign travel and social events.
The risk to the UK population remains low, but we are asking people to be alert to signs and symptoms and ensure that they or their children have received two doses of the MMR vaccination
Measles is highly contagious and can lead to complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the brain which require hospitalisation and on rare occasions can lead to long term disability or death.
Spending 15 minutes or more in direct contact with someone infected with measles is enough to catch the infection. People whose immunity is compromised, pregnant women and unvaccinated children are at increased risk of severe disease.
- Measles symptoms to be aware of include:
- high fever
- sore, red, watery eyes
- aching and feeling generally unwell
- a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.
Anyone with symptoms that could be measles is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E. This is because measles spreads very quickly and easily and so it is important to try and prevent the illness spreading further.
People who have symptoms should also especially try to stay away from areas where you could come into contact with vulnerable people such as schools, nurseries or care homes.
The free MMR vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting against measles, as well as mumps and rubella.
For more information about measles, see the nhs.uk website here.
UKHSA have developed the following for you share with parents and carers on your social media platforms:
Leaflet on measles (in range of languages)
English versions of this leaflet to order https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measles-dont-let-your-child-catch-it-flyer-for-schools and download versions in Arabic, Afrikaans, Bengali, Chinese, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Hebrew, German, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romani, Romanian, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, Ukrainian and Yiddish.
Think Measles poster for young people
Resources for education settings
Primary, secondary school and nursery reminder postcards to send to parents and posters paper copies available to order now to get ready https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immunisations-resources-for-schools