NEW cases of measles have been confirmed in Bradford as cases across Europe hit a record high

The number of cases in Bradford continues to rise, with over 70 cases diagnosed in the city since March 2018.

The World Health Organisation confirms measles cases across Europe have hit a record high with more than 41,000 cases and 37 deaths in the first six months of 2018

Unimmunised children and young adults are at risk, particularly those travelling to parts of Europe where there are large ongoing measles outbreaks, or to other countries where measles vaccination coverage is low and measles is common

Public Health England are launching a fresh appeal for everyone in Bradford to check they and their children have had two doses of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Despite an appeal to check their MMR status before summer, cases have continued to rise across Bradford, leading to the new warning being issued.

Consultant in Health Protection with Public Health England (PHE) Yorkshire and the Humber, Dr Suzanne Coles, said: “Even if you’re not planning to travel, anyone who hasn’t had two MMR vaccines in the past is at risk of getting measles. We also know that right now across Bradford, many families are still yet to travel to – or from - parts of Europe where there are ongoing measles outbreaks, and to other countries where measles vaccination coverage is low and measles is common.

“As a priority, we’re urging all families to put MMR vaccination at the top of their checklist. The free vaccine is offered at 1 year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years, four months of age. Check your child’s Red Book to see if they’ve received MMR vaccinations as scheduled, or check with your GP surgery if you’re unsure.

“If you or your child is offered the vaccine by your GP, please don’t delay in taking it up. Two MMR vaccines are needed to be fully vaccinated and GPs will advise when the second dose can be given for anyone receiving their first.

“If children and young adults have missed these vaccinations in the past, it’s not too late as they are still at risk too. We know that colleges and universities can be hot spots for the spread of measles so we encourage students to check with their GP that they are up to date with their MMR vaccinations before term starts. At the same time, a MenACWY vaccine should also be requested if students haven’t had this before - it provides important protection against meningitis and septicaemia.”

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.

Dr Coles added: “Measles is extremely infectious to anyone who may not be immune. If you think you could have measles, it is really important to stay away from areas where you could come into contact with lots of other people – especially vulnerable patients in hospitals, care homes or other settings.”

Measles symptoms to be aware of include:

• high fever

• sore, red, watery eyes

• coughing

• aching and feeling generally unwell

• a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.