A red spot. Measles is about. Measles is more than just a rash. NHS Greater Manchester logo.

People are being urged to make sure that they and their children are up to date with their vaccinations as measles cases rise in Greater Manchester.

They should also know what symptoms to look out for as the virus is very infectious and can be very dangerous, especially for young children and people with weakened immune systems.

Measles is not just a childhood disease; it can be serious at any age.

Some people who catch it will get very sick and can develop pneumonia, meningitis blindness and fits. If caught during pregnancy it can cause stillbirth, miscarriage and low birth weight.

One in five people with measles will go to hospital and in very rare cases people can die.

The virus spreads easily and quickly among people who are not vaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools. However, it is completely preventable.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine gives lifelong protection against measles mumps and rubella. The vaccine is safe and it is never too late to have any missed doses.

Dr Helen Wall, Clinical Director for Population Health at NHS Greater Manchester, said: “Ensuring you and your child are fully vaccinated against measles is really important. It not only protects you and your family against the illness, but it also protects those who you come into contact with who may be vulnerable – such as babies, toddlers and the elderly.

“Since the introduction of the first measles vaccine in 1968 into the routine childhood immunisation programme, it is estimated that more than 20 million cases and 4,500 deaths have been averted in the UK. Unfortunately, following a decade-long trend of a fall in childhood vaccine uptake, we are now seeing a resurgence of measles.

“It is also important to be aware of what symptoms to look out for as measles is highly infectious.”

Know the symptoms of measles

Symptoms of measles appear 7-10 days after contact with the virus and include:

  • A runny or blocked nose, sneezing and coughing
  • Red, sore watery eyes
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • A red/brown rash which is not itchy and usually appears after the first symptoms. The spots may be raised and form blotchy patches – and may be harder to see on darker skin tones
  • Small white spots may appear inside the cheeks and the back of lips for a few days

If you or a family member develops any measles symptoms, phone your GP or NHS 111 for advice. Do not go to your GP, walk-in centre, A&E department or any other healthcare venue without calling ahead.

People with measles should stay off nursery, school or work for at least four days from when the rash first appears.

Parents who are unsure if their child is up to date with their routine immunisations should check their child’s Red Book (personal child health record), check the NHS App or contact their GP practice.

Adults who are unsure of their own vaccination status should speak to their GP.

In both cases, the GP will arrange any vaccinations needed free of charge.

More information on measles

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