`

Measles warning to new Wakefield residents

The measles
The measles

People who have recently settled in Wakefield may be vulnerable to measles, a public health report has warned.

A report by the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board said residents who have arrived in the area from other European countries could be at risk if they have not been vaccinated against the condition.

A nationwide rise in the number of people suffering from the contagious disease during the past 12 months has prompted concern among medics, with 37 cases reported in West Yorkshire this year alone.

Since 1988, most newborn babies in the UK have been given the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), which gives lifelong protection from all three illnesses.

Although most of Wakefield’s population has been vaccinated, concern remains for those who were not born in the UK and have not had the jab.

Measles often causes a skin rash made up of flat red blotches, as well as tiny white spots on the tongue and the symptoms of a fever.

Although the vast majority of cases pass after two weeks, the disease can be fatal on rare occasions, and is particularly dangerous for children.

The report said: “Between 1 January and 9 May 2018, 440 laboratory confirmed measles cases were reported in England. In Yorkshire and the Humber, 37 cases have been reported in West Yorkshire, with a previous outbreak in Leeds and currently there is an ongoing outbreak in Bradford.

“As well as being a serious highly infectious disease with ongoing health effects and a risk of death this also puts pressure on an already overstretched health system. Vaccination with two doses of MMR vaccine remains the most effective measure to prevent the spread of measles.”

The report added: “Although MMR coverage is good regionally and in Wakefield, learning from previous outbreaks indicates that there are some pockets of the population which remain vulnerable and where vaccination coverage is lower.

“Vulnerable groups, include recent new entrants who may not be up to date with MMR and individuals from European countries where there are ongoing outbreaks.”