Measles epidemic: More cases reported outside Swansea area

Vaccination in Swansea The MMR vaccination is being offered in parts of south Wales

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The number of new cases of measles outside the main epidemic area of Swansea is a cause for concern, health officials have said.

There were 22 new cases reported in the Swansea area since last week and another 32 in other parts of Wales.

It takes the total number of cases in the outbreak area to 1,061 while there are 1,224 across Wales.

Despite a smaller increase this week, Public Health Wales (PHW) said the figures remained worryingly high.

The health body said too few people were being vaccinated in areas outside the epidemic's centre.

They want to see more children in the worst-hit age group, 10 to 18 year olds, coming forward to receive the MMR vaccination.

'Dangerous'

There is particular concern over the situation in the former Gwent county area, where more than 10,000 young people between those ages have yet to receive the injections.

Last week, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in north Wales said over 7,000 children in the target group remained unvaccinated.

Dr Marion Lyons, director of health protection for PHW, said over 33,000 non-routine vaccinations had been given since the outbreak began in November but only 8,000 of those were to 10 to 18 year olds.

College vaccination timetable

  • Gower College: Gorseinon campus on Tuesday 14 May and Tycoch campus on Wednesday 15 May
  • Neath Port Talbot College: Neath campus on Thursday 16 May and Afan campus on Friday 17 May.
  • Teams will visit Bridgend College the following week, with dates to be confirmed

"In each health board area we still have thousands of people in that age group needing to be vaccinated and we cannot emphasise enough how dangerous measles can be, how rapidly it can spread when unvaccinated children gather together and how easy it is to prevent by vaccination," she said.

"Further outbreaks are a real possibility and will only be prevented if parents and young adults engage with the health services and take advantage of the many opportunities being offered for MMR vaccination."

PHW say vaccination uptake in the Swansea area "continues to be encouraging" and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board is set to start sending teams into colleges from next week.

Sessions in schools are continuing and clinics at Singleton and Morriston Hospitals in Swansea, the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot Hospital will be held on Saturday from 10:00-16:00 BST.

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