MMR advice for Keynsham parents

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By BeckyFeather | Tuesday, May 07, 2013, 10:11

Keynsham parents are being urged to ensure their children get the MMR vaccine as the outbreak of measles in Swansea tops the 1,000 mark.

In Bath & North East Somerset there are as yet no confirmed cases of the virus so far this year but there were some during 2012.

Parents can prevent their child from catching the virus with two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

In B&NES, 93.4 per cent of children have received the first injection and 86.1 per cent have had their booster too.

In neighbouring South Gloucestershire, the uptake is higher - 94.9 per cent of children have had the first jab and 88.5 per cent have had both.

But in neighbouring Bristol the figures are lower - with 91.8 per cent having had the first jab and only 79.7 per cent the second.

Across the country, large numbers of children aged 10 to 16 were never given the MMR vaccine, the result of a scare that caused concern among parents.

In the late 1990s research by Dr Andrew Wakefield linking the vaccine with autism and bowel disease was published in The Lancet medical journal but it was later discredited, with health officials insisting the vaccine was completely safe.

Both of Keynsham's secondary schools - Wellsway and Broadlands - have written to parents passing on advice from health experts that it is never too late to get the jab and they should arrange with their GP to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Measles is a highly contagious infection that can spread easily by coughing and sneezing. It starts with a few days of cold-like symptoms and is then followed by a rash, accompanied by high fever, red eyes and a cough.

It can be particularly severe in babies under the age of one year, teenagers and older people, especially those who have a weakened immune system.

In these groups, measles can cause complications including pneumonia, ear infections, diarrhoea and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

For more information about measles and the MMR vaccine visit the NHS Choices website.

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