Wales

Measles sufferer Gareth Colfer-Williams died from pneumonia

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHealth officials have said the epidemic in the Swansea area is slowing

A man died from pneumonia after contracting measles during an outbreak of the disease in Swansea, an inquest has found.

Gareth Colfer-Williams, 25, was found dead on his sofa in his flat on 18 April, days after seeing GPs complaining of a rash all over his body.

Coroner Philip Rogers recorded a verdict of death from natural causes.

Health officials have said the epidemic in the area is slowing.

There have been more than 1,202 cases reported since November around Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend.

The inquest heard how Mr Colfer-Williams was found dead at his home in Port Tennant, Swansea, by family members days after being sent home by doctors.

Days earlier he had visited GPs complaining of a rash all over his body.

But he was told to go home and take paracetamol - even though he had not had the MMR jab, Swansea Coroner's Court was told.

Mr Rogers said: "His partner reported he had a high temperature and rash all over his body and was suffering hallucinations.

"Somebody stayed up until about 3.30am and then at 7.45am the same day that family member returned and found him dead on the sofa.

"An ambulance was called but unfortunately nothing could be done for him.

"Swansea was at that time in a measles epidemic and his death was due to natural causes."

Mr Colfer-Williams, who had a fiancee Cairo and young daughter Dakota, had been treated in Morriston hospital in Swansea for his asthma and not for measles.

Back in April, his mother Angela Colfer said he went to see an out-of-hours GP the day before his death with a rash "from head to foot" but not on his arms.

But the following morning Mr Colfer-Williams was found dead at his flat.

Consultant pathologist Dr Maurizio Brotto told the inquest that 5ft 8ins tall Mr Colfer-Williams was "very underweight" at just 7st 7lbs.

Dr Brotto told the inquest Mr Colfer-Williams was positive for measles and died from giant cell pneumonia caused by the disease.

He said: "Measles is a viral infection which doesn't kill you but it can lead to giant cell pneumonia."

The inquest heard that Mr Colfer-Williams had suffered from alcohol problems and just two weeks before his death he had gone into detox leaving his body vulnerable to infection.

'Herd immunity'

The measles outbreak hospitalised more than 80 young people who had not received the vaccine during the height of the MMR scare.

The inquest was told that only one in 1,000 people who contracted measles in developed countries died from the disease.

More than 95% of children and teenagers in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend are now protected against measles, health officials said last week.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB) says youngsters have received at least one MMR (measles mumps rubella) jab.

But "herd immunity", the protective effect that results from a high uptake of vaccination, has not been achieved.

Public Health Wales said last week that they are still concerned about further outbreaks in the hardest hit 10 to 18 age group.

"Parents of children of all ages should be aware that the outbreak is not over, and that if their child is overdue for vaccination, they should still catch up on missed doses as a matter of urgency," said a spokeswoman.

Speaking after the case, his mother Mrs Colfer said: "He was a wonderful son and a wonderful father, uncle and brother.

"Cairo and Dakota are having a terrible time. They are devastated."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites