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Measles Risk

Measles is circulating in the UK and globally, with both adults and children infected this year

Recent figures show that measles is on the rise and not enough people in Surrey are protected against this infection. Parents and adults are urged to check their families Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) records as only 83.1% of residents have had both doses the MMR vaccine by age 5, far below the 95% needed to protect all of us from the disease.

It's never too late to protect adults and children from measles:

  • Please ensure your children get both their MMR vaccines – just after their first birthday and then before they start school
  • If you or your children missed the MMR vaccine, please ask for it from your GP practice, particularly before travelling abroad or attending festivals this summer where social mixing gives measles the chance to spread easily.

Having the MMR vaccine benefits everyone. If enough people are vaccinated, the disease cannot spread effectively to those who cannot be vaccinated such as immunosuppressed people and very young babies.

Measles infection

Measles is extremely infectious and is mainly spread by coughs and sneezes. It often starts with cough and cold like symptoms, high fever and red sore eyes. The rash starts a few days later and can be harder to see on brown or black skin than on pale skin. It is infectious to others for several days before rash onset, and very disruptive, as those infected must avoid contact with others for 4 days after the rash begins.

You may not know if someone has measles and even passing contact presents a high risk of spreading the infection.

Most people recover fully but it can make you feel very unwell. For some it causes serious illness requiring hospitalisation and (rarely) can be fatal. Measles in pregnancy increases the risk of complications.

If you think you may have measles, please do not attend your GP surgery or hospital without phoning first, so they can provide advice.