Suspected measles outbreak at Park Community School in Barnstaple

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By tinap | Monday, December 17, 2012, 14:15

Three children at The Park Community School in Barnstaple are thought to have contracted measles, according to the Health Protection Agency. 

The children, who are are currently awaiting the results of lab tests, have either not been immunised or were only partially immunised with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine prompting the HPA to send a letter, via the school, to all parents and guardians urging them to check their child's vaccination history.

In the letter, Dr Femi Oshin, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at The Health Protection Agency warned that measles is highly infectious and can cause serious complications in vulnerable people, including pregnant women (and their unborn baby), newborn babies, persons with HIV/AIDs, leukaemia and those on cancer and organ transplant drugs.

The Agency is now urging all parents and guardians to protect themselves, children and close family from catching the disease by ensuring that all children and babies over the age of one year old have received two doses of the MMR vaccination. If people are unsure of their child's vaccination history, they should check with their GP and arrange a free catch up vaccination if necessary, it is never too late to receive a MMR jab.

The symptoms of measles include the following:

* cold-like symptoms such as runny nose

* watery and painful eyes (conjunctivitis)

* a mild to severe temperature

* aches and pains

* dry cough

* red-brown spotty rash that usually starts behind the ears and spreads to the head and neck on to the rest of the body

If your child exhibits any symptoms of measles it is very important to take the following steps to prevent spreading the disease to others:

* Keep your child away from school, and away from others, for five days from when the rash first appeared

* You should also avoid them coming into contact with other persons who may be particularly vulnerable. The risk of very serious illness is especially greater in persons including unborn babies of pregnant women, newborn babies, persons with HIV/AIDs, leukaemia and those on cancer and organ transplant drugs.

* it is also very important not to go to your GP Practice with a child who has measles. If you do, you risk passing on the infection to others in the waiting room. If your child has symptoms of the disease please telephone your GP surgery in the first instance.

Further information about measles and MMR can be found on the Health Protection Unit Agency at the following:

http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Measles/ http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Measles/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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