Thousands in Aylesbury's region at risk of catching measles, the NHS warns
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NHS officials in Aylesbury’s region have warned that thousands of students returning to school could catch measles.
The Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) has warned that vaccination uptake is at its lowest point in years.
Specifically, the health body has warned that MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccinations have been delivered at the lowest rate seen in a decade, in its area.
NHS services are urging parents to check that their children are up to date with their vaccinations now schools have reopened.
The board has also warned that there has been an increase in measles cases across the country.
According to the BOB ICB vaccination rates have fallen over the past 10 years and a number of children aged four and five years old starting school are not protecting against highly infectious diseases.
Further NHS information states that if left unvaccinated nine out of 10 children in a classroom will catch the disease if just one child is infectious.
Every region in England has reported confirmed cases of the infectious disease and cases to date are over double that of the whole of last year.
Whilst measles can be mild for some children, one in five will require a hospital visit, the NHS warns. The infection can lead to a complication in one in 15, such as meningitis and sepsis. There is no specific treatment for measles, so parents are being reminded that vaccination gives the best protection from serious illness.
Chief nursing officer for BOB, Rachael Corser said: “Measles can start with cold like symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and a cough with a rash not showing until they have been infectious for up to four days. In a classroom it may not be easy to spot that they have the measles infection at first and before they have a rash they could have infected nine out of ten of their unvaccinated classmates.”
The MMR vaccine is given to one year olds and at around three years and four months in readiness for starting school. NHS guidance is that two doses are enough to give lifelong protection from becoming seriously unwell with mumps, measles and rubella.
The vaccine is often delivered at the same time as the pre-school booster including protection against polio. Anyone who has missed any of the vaccinations can catch up at any time, the NHS advises.
Rachael added: “It’s important we keep our little ones fully protected from Measles, which is on the rise. Speaking as both a nurse and a mum, the MMR vaccine is the best possible way to keep our children safe and healthy. So, I am urging parents and guardians to check your child’s red book to make sure your child is fully vaccinated against this disease”
The World Health Organisation identifies measles as one of the most contagious infections in the world, yet the disease is completely preventable with vaccination.
The UK lost its eradication status for measles in 2018 following an increase in cases, the country has fallen below its 95 per cent target.