South West Wales

Jabs plea after more measles cases at Gower College, Swansea

A young man receives an MMR jab Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The Gower College measles cluster is unrelated to the cases elsewhere

Children and young people who have not had the measles jab are being asked to get vaccinated urgently after four new cases were confirmed in Swansea.

The latest cases on Tycoch campus at Gower College follow another five across Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire.

Those cases are not related to the college outbreak.

But Public Health Wales is advising people who are not protected to speak to their GP to arrange a vaccination.

'Community spread'

Students at Gower College are to be offered catch-up MMR jabs on Thursday.

Dr Jorg Hoffmann, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, called the new cluster a concern.

"We now once again have evidence of community spread in the Neath and Swansea areas, resulting in two confirmed outbreaks and a significant number of cases which could not be linked to either of them," he said.

At the end of December there were 44 cases linked to four schools in the Neath and Swansea area.

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

Special clinics

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

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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