I’ve written before about MMR and how we live in an area which is not well protected against the diseases that the vaccine is aimed at.
The Health Protection Agency have now written to parents saying:
We are seeing increasing numbers of measles cases in children and their families in South East London. Some children have been admitted to hospital with the illness.
As measles is circulating locally, I strongly recommend that all children should have the MMR vaccine if they have not already had two doses.
Those children who have not had MMR vaccine at all, should have two doses one month apart. Those children who have so far had only one dose of MMR should receive a second dose now, unless the first dose was less than one month ago, in which case a second dose should be given one month after the first.
If you think that your child may have measles, please contact your doctor. Children with suspected measles remain infectious for about five days after onset of the rash and should be kept away from school until after this time.
Here’s what the World Health Organisation says about measles:
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known. Almost all non-immune children contract this respiratory disease if exposed to the virus. Measles is an acute illness caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family. Measles virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and in the cells that line the lungs. It is a human disease not known to occur in animals.
Vaccination has had a major impact on measles deaths. From 2000 to 2006, an estimated 478 million children aged nine months to 14 years received measles vaccine through supplementary immunization activities in 46 out of the 47 priority countries with the highest burden of measles. These accelerated activities have resulted in a significant reduction in estimated global measles deaths. Overall, global measles mortality decreased by 68% between 2000 and 2006. The largest gains occurred in Africa where measles cases and deaths fell by 91%.
And while those last statistics are very good news I don’t want my children or their friends to have to face the consequences of a disease that we ought not to be catching.