South West Wales

Jabs urged after new measles outbreak in Neath and Swansea

Measles jab Image copyright Press association
Image caption Around 30,000 teenagers have not yet been vaccinated against MMR across Wales

Parents are being urged to have their children vaccinated against measles following a new outbreak in south west Wales.

At the end of December there were 44 cases in an outbreak first reported as being linked to four schools in the Neath and Swansea area.

But Public Health Wales said five new cases in the area in the last 11 days are not linked to that.

One person in Carmarthenshire has had hospital treatment.

The new cases are mainly around Swansea and Neath, but there have also been some in Carmarthenshire.

Dr Jörg Hoffmann, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said it was very concerning the outbreak has continued to spread.

Catch-up doses

"This is a potentially nasty infection that can easily be prevented with a safe, effective vaccine and we would not see measles in Wales if enough children and young people were vaccinated."

Image caption People queued with their children outside clinics for the MMR during the height of the last outbreak

The current outbreak follows the largest spread of measles in Wales since the introduction of the MMR vaccination.

There were more than 1,200 suspected cases in the same area between November 2012 and July 2013, resulting in one death and causing 88 people to be hospitalised.

Since then more than 70,000 catch-up doses of MMR have been given in Wales, but around 30,000 young people remain unprotected, Public Health Wales said.

People queued with their children outside special clinics for vaccinations set up during the height of last year's outbreak.

Measles' symptoms include a fever, tiredness, a runny nose, conjunctivitis and a distinctive red rash.

It is very contagious and can cause serious complications, and in rare cases, death.

Anyone who thinks they or their child has symptoms should can their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

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