News

Measles surge raises fears of an international outbreak

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The symptoms shown on the Public Health Wales website

The number of measles cases in Swansea has reached a new high the recent outbreak has spread incredibly quickly. The latest numbers provided by health authorities indicate a total of 316 cases in Swansea, with 64 new cases reported only last week.

While the outbreak is still mainly concentrated in Swansea, the infectious disease is slowly spreading throughout Wales, with cases increasingly reported across the Mid and West Wales region, reports a Public Health Wales’ press release.

According to public health services, there could also be a risk for the disease to spread further internationally, in particular since tourists visiting Wales could find themselves close to people infected by the disease.

Ashley Gould, Registrar in Public Health at Public Health Wales, spoke to The Archer about the possibility of an international outbreak: “It is a possibility, but it all depends on whether their vaccination is up to date.”

Mr. Gould also specified that the disease concerns both children and adults, but that children are more vulnerable, although the effects on adults can be more serious.

According to a Public Health Wales news release, 111 primary and secondary schools, nurseries and playgroups are already affected. The infection is mainly a concern for children who are more likely to catch the disease and could face serious health complications.

Public Health Wales released a news release about the threat of the disease. “Forty two people have already been hospitalised and it is just a matter of time before a child is left with serious and permanent complications such as eye disorders, deafness or brain damage, or even dies.”

Parents are urged to make sure their children have their MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine up to date and contact their GP as soon as possible if needed.  This is the only protection against the disease which should be taken seriously.

“Measles can be a very serious disease and cause severe, even life-threatening, complications. In the UK, complications are quite common even in healthy people and approximately 20% of reported measles cases experience one or more complication,” Public Health Wales stated on their website.

The website of the public service provides a description of the measles’ symptoms to help parents detect the infection and react quickly. A video testimony from a mother whose three year old unvaccinated daughter contracted measles is also available online.

A Swansea Council spokesman told The Archer: “We would urge parents to heed the advice from Public Health Wales and get their children vaccinated. Parents can arrange to have the MMR vaccine through their GP.

“Public Health Wales is working with the ABMU Health Board to manage the measles situation in Swansea and say that if parents believe their child may have the condition they should contact their GP.”

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