Sunday, 13 March 2016

Probable outbreak of Measles feared in London and South East England

According to BBC, doctors are concerned they are witnessing the start of a measles outbreak in London and the South East of England. There have been at least 20 new cases in the region since February, 2016 compared with 91 in all of England in the whole of last year with most cases being young adults and needed hospital treatment.
Medical doctors are advising people to ensure they are vaccinated to prevent a repeat of the 2013 Swansea outbreak in which 1,219 people were infected. Dr Kevin Brown of Public Health England said that the concern is that this may be the beginning of another outbreak like we have seen in the past. There have been 12 cases in London, three in Cambridge, three in Hertfordshire and two in Essex. They have mostly been in people in their 20s and 30s. The disease is usually more serious in adults than in children. The patients presented to hospital with high fever and a rash. Dr Brown added that Measles is not pleasant in the older age group and I think people tend to forget that.
It has been identified that all the cases have been caused by the same strain of the virus suggesting the infections are linked, although there is no evidence that the virus has changed to spread more easily. Measles is the most infectious infection that we know and it really is very good at seeking out those few members of the community that have not been vaccinated, said Dr Brown. I don't think it will be of the numbers we had for the Swansea outbreak, which was predominantly affecting school-age children. But there is still the potential for us to have an increasing number of cases, especially in young adults and they are the ones that tend to be hospitalised and don't do as well.
Dr Brown said that unvaccinated older people thought they had dodged the bullet with measles, but in fact needed to be vaccinated. MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) immunisation rates are now at record levels in children due to vaccination. There has been little spread of the infection to school-age children so far, which suggests there is a high level of protection in those age groups.

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