5th April 2013 Update:
More cases of measles reported. Now 541 people diagnosed. Around 20 new cases of measles every day, and now health scientists fear that the epidemic could spread to the rest of the UK.
According to health records around 3,800 children in Swansea alone have not had their MMR vaccine. Parents of older children do not think that they are at risk. If this pattern is repeated across the UK hundreds of thousands of children could be at risk of catching measles and developing terrible long-term conditions.
South West Wales Outbreak – 27th March 2013
There is growing concern in the medical community regarding the increasing incidence of measles cases in South West Wales. There is now a measles epidemic – cases have doubled in the last 3 weeks, now totalling around 432 cases, with 116 new cases rising in the last week. So far 51 people have needed hospital treatment. Why is this happening?
Decline in MMR Vaccinations
The likely reason is that this is the continuing backlash of the report by Dr. Andrew Wakefield (The MMR Debate) which made a link (later found to be false) between the MMR vaccination and autism.
When Wakefield announced his finding the tabloid press were very quick to “warn” parents, with front page stories and other misleading and dangerous news stories. The result is that many people still think that there is a link today. The tabloid press only made a relatively small reference to the story after Andrew Wakefield was struck off the medical register for negligence.
Health officials are now pleading with parents to get their children vaccinated. If you are a parent and reading this, please get your child vaccinated before it is too late.
The outbreak in Wales is currently centred in the area of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, Powys and Hywel Dda in the south west of Wales. However, there have been cases all over, and at the rate it is spreading, the situation could get much worse.
Fortunately with the 2 week Easter break coming up, many children will have less contact with possible carriers, so it may be possible to get the problem under control.
Children May Die
Dr Marion Lyons has warned parents – children may die again if vaccinations are not carried out. In the last major outbreak, which happened in Dublin in 1999/2000, 3 children died during the epidemic and over 1200 children suffered.
Symptoms of Measles
Complications of Measles
These conditions can develop and lead to permanent conditions;
- Ear infections
- Eye disorders
The current outbreak is likely to carry on until the summer, and it could spread beyond Wales.
News Reports and Advice
- Potentially fatal measles in Swansea: what you need to know – This is South Wales, March 27, 2013
- Measles Spreads At ‘Alarming Rate’ – Real Radio Wales
- Measles – Protecting children from measles with the MMR vaccination – caerphilly.gov.uk
- Measles – NHS Choices