A PUBLIC health warning has been issued after a number of children in Bradford were diagnosed with measles.

And heath chiefs are urging parents to make sure their children are up to date on their vaccinations after the outbreak of the virus, which started late last month.

Experts have advised anyone who is showing symptoms of measles to remain at home and call doctors, rather than visiting A&E where they risk spreading the virus.

Public Health England issued the warning yesterday, saying there had been nine confirmed and three suspected cases of measles in Bradford since the end of March.

There has been a reported increase in measles across the country and in other parts of Yorkshire and the Humber, including Leeds, during the past year.  PHE is now working with Bradford Council and the NHS to make sure anyone across the city who needs a vaccination to protect against the virus is aware.

Consultant in Health Protection with Public Health England Yorkshire and the Humber, Dr Suzanne Coles, said: “Measles can be a very serious illness and lead to severe complications, especially in people who are particularly vulnerable or have other health conditions.”

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can effect people of any age, although the illness can be more severe in teenagers and adults than in young children.

Complications occur in about a third of cases, and can include blindness, inflammation of the brain, and pneumonia.  It is an airborne disease that spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of infected people.

Have you or your family been affected by the latest measles outbreak? Call our newsroom on 01274 705292

The warning from PHE says: “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.”  Dr Coles said that the recent cases in Bradford highlighted the importance of getting the MMR vaccine.

She added: “The free MMR vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting against measles, as well as mumps and rubella.  “It’s particularly important for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children when offered at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years, four months of age.  “If children and young adults have missed these vaccinations in the past, it’s important to take up the vaccine now from GPs, particularly in light of the recent cases in Bradford.  “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.  “Most healthy adults will have developed some immunity to measles but can still receive two doses of the vaccine from their GP too.

 “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.”

A spokesman for Public Health England told the Telegrpah & Argus they were unable to give the ages of the people in Bradford confirmed to have measles, or whether they were still in hospital.

A similar public health warning was issued when there was a measles outbreak reported in Leeds in November last year.  By January there had been over 30 confirmed cases throughout the city.

Symptoms of measles include high fever, sore, red, watery eyes, coughing, aching and feeling generally unwell, and a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.

The infection usually clears in around 7 to 10 days.

High uptake in vaccinations led to The World Health Organization confirming that the UK eliminated measles in 2016.

However, there are still occasional outbreaks, usually among people who haven’t been vaccinated  and that year there were still 500 measles cases in England.