Lewes parents warned about measles

PARENTS are being urged to protect their children with vaccinations as measles cases continue to increase across Sussex.

The Sussex Express sought the latest figures after a concerned Lewes parent contacted us about a case in his road.

The Surrey & Sussex Health Protection Unit confirmed there was no particular outbreak of measles in Lewes but a spread of the disease circulating in the community.

There were 67 cases in East Sussex last year and so far this year there have already been 11.

The Health Protection Agency said there was a national increase and measles is now considered to be ‘widely circulating in the community’.

It is urging parents to protect their children with two doses of MMR vaccine.

Measles is an acute infection caused by the measles virus and is most common in children, teenagers and young adults who have not been immunised.

Symptoms include a runny nose, together with conjunctivitis (red eyes), a cough, fever and a rash.

Dr Angela Iversen, Director of the Surrey and Sussex Health Protection Unit, said: “We are still seeing cases of measles in many parts of the county and the only way we are going to eliminate these infections is by working with parents, schools, universities and other further education institutions to encourage MMR uptake.

“Measles should not be lightly dismissed as a childhood illness.

“Measles can be a nasty illness with potential for complications including meningitis and encephalitis. On rare occasions, measles can be fatal.

“It is not too late to be vaccinated and anyone who has not previously had two doses of MMR vaccine should arrange it now through their family doctor.”

It is important to have two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination. MMR is routinely given in the UK at the age of 13 months and again at 3.5 years.