Measles outbreak -record number of cases of measles in Europe- Are you at risk?

Measles outbreak in Europe- Are you at risk?

Countries most affected by the measles outbreak

Countries most affected by the measles outbreak

Europe is currently under the grip of a major outbreak of measles with a record number of cases. More than 41,000 people have been infected already this year with at least 37 deaths. UK has also been severely affected with Public-Health England recording 828 confirmed cases already this year. Most of the cases were reported in London (291), the South-east (169), South-west (138), West Midlands (85) & Yorkshire & Humberside (80)

So why have they been an increase in the number of cases?

To be completely protected from measles, two doses of the MMR vaccine are required but many children were not vaccinated in their childhood for unfounded fears of side effects of the vaccine. Some only had one dose of vaccine and therefore also remained vulnerable to this potentially deadly disease.

How can I catch measles?

Measles is an extremely infectious virus spread by coughing, sneezing, close contact, etc with those infected. Children and young people are particularly vulnerable at this time of year during summer festivals, summer camps and university.

What symptoms should I look out for?

Measles virus

Electron microscope of the measles virus

 

Firstly, it is most common in children and teenagers. The first symptoms are a runny nose, sore eyes, cough and a high fever. After several days a rash appears usually starting on the face and the upper body and eventually spreading to the rest of the body. It lasts about 5-6 days and often confused with other viral infections.

 

What’s the big deal about measles, is it really dangerous?

It can make you seriously ill. It can cause severe ear infections, pneumonia and an inflammation of the brain called ‘encephalitis’ that can lead to permanent brain damage. It can be particularly severe in those who have poorly functioning immune systems. Finally it can kill but thankfully this is quite rare in the UK.

So how can I protect myself from measles?

If you’ve never been vaccinated or only received one vaccine, you can contact your GP or alternatively call Travel Klinix on (024) 7621 6519, email info@travelklinix.com.  We can provide safe, trusted advice and will be happy to guide you on vaccination.

Read more about the outbreak