Suffolk: Parents urged to reconsider immunisation after school girl struck down with measles

Parents urged to vaccinate children

Parents urged to vaccinate children - Credit: PA

A GIRL was taken to casualty after falling ill with measles, the East Anglian Daily Times can reveal.

The youngster, a pupil at Woolpit Community Primary School, is believed to have one of a cluster of cases of the potentially fatal condition.

Health bosses said nearby schools and GPs have now been informed.

It is understood that the Woolpit girl was subsequently sent home from West Suffolk Hospital and told to stay away from school while contagious. One other pupil was affected at the school.

There have so far been two confirmed cases in the Woolpit area and another three suspected cases. According to the Health Protection Agency there were only four cases of measles in the county in 2012. She added that although the county does not see many cases compared to other areas, the only way to prevent outbreaks of the highly infectious disease was to vaccinate.

Hossein Khaled, NHS Suffolk’s Screening and Immunisation public health public health lead, said: “The effects of measles should not be underestimated. Measles is an illness that can kill or leave people with serious health problems. The only way to be protected against this is with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.”

He added: “I would strongly urge any parents of unvaccinated children to contact their local GP and get their child vaccinated. The vaccination is safe and could save the life of their child.”

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A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council’s Public Health Service said: “We can confirm that there have been two confirmed cases of measles in the Woolpit area, with another three suspected cases. A letter has been sent to GPs and local schools informing them of the recent cluster of measles and offering guidance. If anyone is concerned about their child potentially having measles they should make an appointment with their GP.”

The latest cases comes despite the highest-ever take up of the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine since controversial safety fears set the immunisation programme back by a decade.

Experts previously told the EADT that the high results came after a battle for “hearts and minds” following now discredited claims that the vaccine could result in autism. In Suffolk, 93.9% of children in 2012 (up from 89.5% in 2011) received the first jab during April, May and June last year. A total of 88.3% received MMR2 for the same period, another significant increase on the year before.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can possibly lead to serious complications, including blindness and death.

Symptoms include those similar to a common cold, red eyes and sensitivity to light, fever, greyish white spots in the mouth and throat and a spotty rash often starting behind the ears.

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