Urgent measles warning to parents as cases rise in London

Urgent measles warning to parents as cases rise in London

Baby Margot spent five days in the hospital after contracting the disease (Picture: SWNS)

Parents in London have been encouraged to vaccinate their children for measles after more than 74 cases were detected last month.

London has the highest number of cases in the UK currently, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

One baby – six-month-old Margot – was hospitalised and needed help breathing and eating after contracting the disease.

Measles is highly contagious, and in serious cases can cause death. But there is a vaccination available.

But babies under the age of 12 months are unable to get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination, putting them at higher risk.

Since October, more than 29% of measles cases in England have been in London alone.

What is measles, and how does it spread?

London has seen a sharp increase in cases of measles (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Measles is a highly contagious disease, usually associated with a rash all over the body.

It is an airborne virus, which means that it spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes.

The measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves.

An infected person will spread the disease to 20 others, on average.

9 out of 10 people who aren’t vaccinated will catch the diseases if they are near an infected person.

How to prevent measles without a vaccine

Measles is much easier to catch without a vaccination (Picture: Getty)

Given that measles is a highly contagious virus, it’s difficult to prevent without a vaccine, meaning parents with babies below the age of one should take extra precautions.

If you’re sick, be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap and use tissues when you cough and sneeze.

If you or a loved one are infected with measles, stay away from nurseries, work and school for four days after the rash appears.

Also avoid babies, and anyone who is pregnant or has a weakened immune system – such as those going through cancer treatment.

When do babies receive the measles vaccine?

Babies receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, which helps prevent measles.

The first is given when a baby is 12 months old, and the second dose is given before a child goes to school, around the age of 3-4 years old.

Can you die from measles?

The virus spreads easily, and can be deadly (Picture: Getty)

For most people, a measles infection will pass in 7 to 10 days without further complications.

However, in some cases, measles can lead to other medical problems, such as pneumonia, meningitis, blindness and seizures.

For every 1,000 people infected with measles, between one and three will die. Children under five and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk, with 40% of under fives who test positive requiring hospital care.

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said that unvaccinated children have a ‘really high chance’ of catching the disease if exposed to it.

‘For children, measles is far more lethal than Covid ever was,’ he said.

Pregnant women should seek medical advise if they have come into close contact with someone with measles, as the disease can be harmful to unborn babies.

Can adults get measles?

You can still receive a measles vaccination even if you didn’t have one as a child (Picture: Getty)

Yes – even if you’ve had the vaccination.

Complications in adults who contract measles may be more likely, especially for those who are unvaccinated.

If you’re over the age of 20 and have been in contact with someone who has measles, speak to your doctor.

What are symptoms of measles in adults?

In adults, symptoms may differ from children’s.

High fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes often appear 7-14 days after exposure to the virus.

The rash appears a few days after these symptoms.

If you think you have measles, isolate yourself and speak to a doctor.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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