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Doctors warned to expect increase in requests for measles vaccines

Monday 8th August 2016
Doctors can expect an increase in patients requesting measles vaccines over the coming weeks, following a PHE warning. Image: TheYok via iStock
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Doctors could be set to experience an increase in requests for measles vaccinations over the coming weeks.

This is because a warning has been issued by Public Health England (PHE) about the spread of the condition at music festivals and other large-scale events across the UK this summer, following the reporting of 234 cases of the illness between January and June this year.

What's more, 36 suspected cases of measles have been reported among people who attended festivals during June and July, indicating that the disease is on the rise.

In contrast, just 54 cases were recorded during the same six-month period last year. As a highly contagious condition, measles could spread at a fast pace at public events, such as the many festivals that are scheduled to take place in Britain over the remainder of the summer.

With this in mind, PHE is urging the public to make sure they have been vaccinated against measles to prevent themselves from catching the condition or passing it onto others. As a result, GPs and hospital doctors alike may see an increase in demand for their services as more people attempt to ensure they are as well protected as possible against the disease.

The symptoms of measles can include a red rash, as well as a high fever, with individuals suffering from these signs urged to seek medical advice as soon as possible so they can receive treatment. Some of the recently recorded cases have required hospital treatment, so doctors need to refer any patients who they are concerned about to prevent the condition from spreading further.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, explained: "Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications.

"Measles isn't common these days because most of us are vaccinated, but young people who missed their MMR jab as children are vulnerable, especially if gathered in large numbers at an event."

Doctors are also being urged to advise anyone that is showing signs of measles or is feeling unwell and is suspected to have the condition to stay at home and not travel to festivals or other public events to keep the effects of the illness to a minimum.

Written by James Puckle

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