Hywel Dda UHB advises community following measles outbreak in Gwent

Following a declared measles outbreak in Gwent, Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) is reminding its community that measles is circulating and what people should do if they or their child have symptoms.

People showing symptoms of measles should not attend their GP or any other healthcare setting without phoning before arrival, or must immediately notify staff on arrival, to allow prompt isolation and avoid any further transmission.

Measles is highly infectious and can very easily spread between people who are not vaccinated.

The first symptoms of measles are cold-like and can include a high temperature, sneezing, a cough and red, sore, watery eyes.

Small white spots may appear inside the cheeks and on the back of the lips a few days later. These spots usually last a few days.

A rash usually appears a few days after the cold-like symptoms. The rash starts on the face and behind the ears before spreading to the rest of the body. The spots of the measles rash are sometimes raised and can join together to form blotchy patches. They are not usually itchy.

Dr Ardiana Gjini, Executive Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While there have been no confirmed cases in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire so far this year, cases of measles have been increasing across the UK and following this outbreak in Gwent, it is important that people know what to do should they, or their child, show symptoms.

“People can check their symptoms by visiting the NHS 111 Wales website and can contact them for advice if they believe they may have measles.

“If you or your child have symptoms of measles, please do not attend your GP or any other healthcare setting without phoning before arrival, or immediately notify staff on arrival.”

Nearly everyone who catches measles will develop a high fever and a rash. People in certain at-risk groups, including babies and young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity, are at increased risk of complications from measles.

The only way to prevent outbreaks is through vaccination.

Dr Gjini added: “The highly effective MMR vaccine is available from your GP, free on the NHS. Parents/guardians can check the MMR vaccine status of their child by looking at their child’s red book.”

People should contact their GP to arrange their MMR vaccination, or if they are unsure of their vaccination status. Hywel Dda UHB’s communication hub can also advise, please call 0300 303 8322 option 1 or email ask.hdd@wales.nhs.uk.

For more information about measles please visit 111.wales.nhs.uk/encyclopaedia/m/article/measles.

More information on MMR is available at phw.nhs.wales/topics/immunisation-and-vaccines/mmr.

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