MMR jab vital to guard against measles

Families across North Yorkshire are being urged to get the MMR jab after a nationwide measles outbreak.

Cases of measles across North Yorkshire, as well as nationwide, are now at their highest levels since 2004.

Since January 2013, 80 suspected cases of measles have been reported across the North Yorkshire area, 28 of which have been confirmed.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, said: “Measles is a highly infectious illness, which spreads very easily through direct contact with an infected person, or through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”

“Being vaccinated is very important, not just to protect individuals, but also to stop the virus from spreading in the community and potentially seriously affecting others.”

The MMR vaccination (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) is a safe and effective vaccination which is normally given to children in two doses between the ages of two-15 months of age. and a second dose between four and six years of age.

Dr Autilia Newton, Director of Public Health England’s North Yorkshire and the Humber Health Protection Team, said the majority of cases being reported currently were in North Yorkshire, York and the East Riding of Yorkshire and children and young adults who had not been fully vaccinated with MMR were the most susceptible groups.

The initial symptoms of measles may include: Cold-like symptoms; Red eyes; Fever and greyish white spots in the mouth and throat; After a few days a red-brown spotty rash will appear.

It usually starts behind the ears, then spreads around the head and neck before spreading to the legs and the rest of the body.