Portsmouth Doctors Concern About Measles
|Published: 27th May 2011 14:46|
Doctors in Portsmouth have echoed national concerns about the threat to local children from any measles outbreak.
The Health Protection Agency, which monitors the disease across the country, has reported over 300 cases so far this year - more than the total number for 2010. Parents are being urged to ensure that their children are immunised by having both doses of the MMR vaccine as soon as they scheduled - at 12 months and three and a half years.
Several European countries are experiencing more severe outbreaks than Britain and parents are being advised to speak to their GP if they are planning a family holiday with young children, particularly in France or Germany.
Earlier this year Portsmouth saw its first case since at least 2005 - with records unavailable previous years. Because vaccination levels in the city are lower than the level recommended by the World Health Organisation Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Director of Public Health for NHS Portsmouth, fears it could only be a matter of time before a larger outbreak locally:
"Measles is a very infectious disease, and most of the cases have occurred in children and young people who have not had the vaccine. It can be very serious and lead to life threatening complications. In some cases children can die as a result of the complications"
Matt Pickerill NHS Portsmouth's development manager for health protection backs the MMR vaccine: "The vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. It is very important for children to have it. In the past some parents have been concerned about an article that claimed the vaccine was linked to autism. This has been proved not to be the case.
"If for whatever reason your child has missed the vaccine at the usual time it is still possible get it from your GP surgery. Young adults who may have missed the vaccine as infants should also check their vaccination record, particularly if they are travelling or at university."