Measles is a highly infectious viral infection. Following infection, most healthy people recover and will have lifelong immunity. However, for some individuals, such as young children, people with impaired immunity, and pregnant women and their unborn baby, measles infection can be extremely serious and sometimes fatal.
Unimmunised children aged between one and four years old are most likely to be infected, although people of any age can catch measles.
Measles is a vaccine preventable disease, with 2 doses of MMR giving 99% protection against measles. The first dose of MMR is usually given to babies at between 12 and 13 months of age, and the second at three years and four months of age, but it is never too late to catch up on missed doses.
Parents whose children are not up to date with MMR should ensure that they contact their GP practice to arrange this quick, safe and effective vaccine.
Parents who suspect their child has measles should call their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for an assessment. They should alert their GP or any other health provider of the symptoms before attending any appointment or department.
Children with measles symptoms – which include a high temperature, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and a distinctive red rash should be isolated from others and kept home from nursery or school.
Further information on measles, including a link to a video testimony from a mother whose three year old unvaccinated daughter contracted measles, is available at http://www.publichealthwales.org/measles