Dr Sakthi Karunanithi-6

Statement from Lancashire's Director of Public Health

Lancashire's Director of Public health has released a statement following a rise in measles cases in England and the North West, including in Preston.

It comes as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) publishes the latest measles epidemiological overview.

UKHSA also publishes a weekly news story to accompany the epidemiological update every Thursday to provide an overview on the latest number of cases.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health, Lancashire County Council, said:

"I can confirm that we have had a measles outbreak in the Preston area.

"While the numbers are currently low in Lancashire, measles is highly infectious and can spread quickly among communities, such as schools and nurseries, particularly if people are not up to date with their MMR vaccine.

"One in five children will need a hospital visit if they become unwell with measles and around one in 15 measles cases can have complications such as meningitis, sepsis and blindness.

"The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and is the best protection against becoming seriously unwell.

"There are two types of MMR vaccine, and one does not contain pork gelatine. You can request a vaccine without pork gelatine from your GP practice when you book your appointment.

"If any of your children have missed any of their MMR vaccines, contact your GP surgery to book an appointment.

"You should also call your GP or 111 for advice if you think you or your child might have measles.

"Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red-brown rash.

"Please do not just turn up to your GP, walk-in centre, or any other healthcare setting without calling ahead.

"The doctor will make special arrangements to see your child so that, if they have measles, they won’t pass it to others.

"Visit the NHS website for more information about measles and the MMR vaccine."