Measles Epidemic is on the Rise in Swansea Area

rubeolMeasles have threatened family wellness in Swansea, but wellness experts say that the epidemic is not expected to peak for another four weeks. There are now 693 cases, but health officials have warned that too few children aged 10 to 17 are guarding their wellbeing with MMR jabs. Last weekend, over 1,700 people received MMR jabs at special drop-in clinics in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend, and another 900 were vaccinated in the Swansea area last week, but at least 6,000 children have still not had the MMR vaccine.

A spokesperson for Public Health Wales (PHW) commented, ‘Based on other measles outbreaks, we would expect the current outbreak in the Swansea area to peak in around four weeks’ time. Getting the MMR vaccination is the only way to stop catching measles, and the vaccine takes time to take effect, so the sooner you can get your child vaccinated the better. Contact your GP straight away if your child has not been vaccinated.’

Dr Ian Millington, secretary of Morgannwg local medical committee, explained, ‘Slowing down won’t be seen for another two to three weeks because of the incubation period of measles.’ I think we would be disappointed if in four weeks we’re not seeing some slowdown.’ Now the schools have reopened after Easter, Dr Millington noted that children will be mixing ‘from family and friends to a much wider group of children.’

He continued, ‘That’s really why the immunisation is being concentrated on this week and the very beginning of next week.’ There will be an immunisation programme in schools starting next week in four of the biggest comprehensives which are most at risk. Just under 2,000 pupils could be immunised in that setting but to deliver an immunisation programme as complex as the whole programme for Wales is not possible in school.’

According to Dr Marion Lyons, head of the vaccination programme for PHW, worries are beginning to spread about the growing number of cases in the old county of Montgomeryshire, where 50 have been reported recently in Welshpool. ‘We remain extremely concerned this outbreak is showing no signs of going away,’ she said.


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