Measles cases are on the rise

The Jewish Chronicle - - Life / Health -

AS WELL as a much pub­li­cised cur­rent out­break of measles in France, the rates in Eng­land have also been go­ing up this year. There were 300 cases in the first three months of 2011 which is the same as the to­tal for 2010.

Com­pare this to 1998 when there were 56 cases in to­tal. That same year, a pa­per was pub­lished sug­gest­ing the MMR vac­ci­na­tion was dan­ger­ous. Older chil­dren now are par­tic­u­larly at risk, as they missed the MMR vac­cine when they were younger due to the now-dis­cred­ited health scare.

Be­cause of this it is im­por­tant to know how to spot a case of measles — most doc­tors of my gen­er­a­tion ac­tu­ally rarely see measles, so par­ents and GPs need to be vig­i­lant at the mo­ment.

As with other vi­ral in­fec­tions, chil­dren have a high tem­per­a­ture, runny nose, di­ar­rhoea and a cough. Con­junc­tivi­tis — sore red eyes — and feel­ing mis­er­able are also very typ­i­cal of measles. Af­ter three days of be­ing ill the typ­i­cal red and blotchy measles rash de­vel­ops — it starts be­hind the ears, spread­ing down the head and neck to cover the whole body. It nor­mally turns brown­ish af­ter a cou­ple of days.

If your chil­dren are at risk be­cause they were not vac­ci­nated, you can get them im­mu­nised at your lo­cal surgery or by a pae­di­a­tri­cian. Hav­ing the rec­om­mended two doses of MMR is the best way to pro­tect your chil­dren against measles, al­though one can­not say that im­mu­ni­sa­tion is 100 per cent ef­fec­tive. One dose is thought to pro­tect over 90 per cent of chil­dren — the the sec­ond is to catch those who did not get im­mu­nity from the first dose.

We are lucky to live in a coun­try where vac­ci­na­tion is avail­able and en­cour­aged, and I sleep well at night know­ing I have pro­tected my chil­dren.

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