People in Greater Manchester are being encouraged to check that they, their children and teenagers have had two doses of MMR vaccine following confirmation that measles is circulating in the area.
The call comes as four cases of measles have now been confirmed in Salford.
PHE is working with local partners to make sure anyone in the area who needs a vaccination to protect against measles is aware.
Dr Kristina Poole, Consultant in Health Protection at PHE North West, said: “Measles is a very infectious virus and can spread rapidly among communities if people have not been fully immunised. While most people who catch measles will recover completely within a couple of weeks, it's important to remember measles can be a very serious illness that can leave permanent disability, and occasionally even kill.”
Dr Tom Tasker, GP and chair of NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Anyone who has not had two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination is at risk, and children are especially vulnerable. But it’s important to remember that measles is not just a childhood illness and it’s never too late to have the vaccine. If you've not received two doses of the vaccine in the past or you're unsure, speak to your GP practice. There's no harm in receiving an additional dose where there is any uncertainty."
Dr Poole continues: “MMR not only protects them, but also limits the chances of the virus spreading more widely, for example to children who are too young to have the vaccine and to adults who may be more vulnerable to the disease. MMR is a highly effective and safe vaccine.”
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness, so anyone with symptoms is also being advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E, to prevent the illness spreading further. It is possible for anyone at any age to get measles and the illness can be more severe in teenagers and adults than in young children.
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.
PHE advises people with symptoms of measles to:
· Stay away from school, nursery or work until five days have elapsed after the onset of a rash.
· Telephone your GP or NHS walk-in centre before attending so that arrangements can be made for you to be treated in a separate area to prevent spread to other vulnerable patients.
· Avoid contact with people generally, but particularly babies, pregnant women and anyone who is known to have poor immunity to infection.
Further information is available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/