Q I’m alarmed that cases of measles are in­creas­ing again. I had it as a child — could I again?

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Short Story By Elizabeth Dale -

AUn­for­tu­nately measles is spread­ing across Europe, with 282 UK cases last year. High im­mu­ni­sa­tion rates are the best way to pro­tect us all, but some par­ents still refuse, prob­a­bly be­cause they haven’t seen measles, which is hor­ri­ble, pro­duc­ing a runny nose and eyes, high fever, cough and a red-brown rash that spreads down from the head. How­ever, the biggest worry is that com­pli­ca­tions can be fa­tal (one in 3,000 cases) or cause per­ma­nent brain dam­age, pneu­mo­nia, squint, menin­gi­tis and en­cephali­tis, so any­one sus­pect­ing measles or con­tact with measles should seek ur­gent med­i­cal ad­vice.

The UK has been im­mu­nis­ing chil­dren against measles for 50 years, and most ba­bies and preschool chil­dren now have the two­dose MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vac­cine. Be­fore that, most chil­dren be­came im­mune by catch­ing all three vi­ral in­fec­tions, and this im­mu­nity usu­ally per­sists, so like most adults you’re prob­a­bly pro­tected.

How­ever, if you’re a health­care worker, or are in con­tact with peo­ple who are vul­ner­a­ble or have poor im­mu­nity, your em­ployer or doc­tor might sug­gest test­ing your im­mu­nity, and an MMR, if nec­es­sary – you’re never too old to have an MMR!

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