Rise in measles cases in Bristol 'unprecedented'

MEASLES SYMPTOMS

Red spots on the back of a 19-year-old woman
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Red eyes and sensitivity to light
  • Fever
  • Greyish white spots in the mouth and throat
  • After a few days a red-brown spotty rash will appear starting behind the ears

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Doctors in the Bristol area say they are worried about a rise in the number of cases of measles.

In 2011, 30 people contracted the virus in the greater Bristol area compared with five in 2010.

Prof Adam Finn, a consultant at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, said last month he dealt with three cases.

"Some have been significantly ill - it's unprecedented - I've certainly never seen it in the 10 years I've been working in Bristol," he said.

"The last time we were seeing measles cases was 20 years ago or more in the 1980s," Prof Finn added.

It is believed the rise is due to the falling number of children being vaccinated - possibly because of earlier unfounded scares over the MMR vaccine.

The increase in cases locally reflects a trend observed across England and Europe.

A total of 496 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported across England and Wales from January to May 2011, compared with 374 cases for the whole of 2010.

Chloe Hurst said her one-year-old son Ernie had to go hospital for treatment.

"Unfortunately he wasn't old enough to have the [MMR] vaccine but there are children out there that haven't had it done.

"I'd say definitely get it done because you don't want to get stuck in hospital like I was.

"To see your child deteriorate before your eyes and you can't do anything about it - you couldn't even pick him up because he was on an IV drip," Ms Hurst added.

The measles virus is passed through direct contact with someone who's infected, for example by touching or kissing them, or through breathing in contaminated air.

The infectious period is from around four days before the appearance of the rash, to around four days after its appearance.

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