Cases of Measles Rise, Government Urges Parents to Vaccinate Children

The dangerous and potentially life-threatening disease, measles, is at its highest peak in the UK since the 1990s after an outbreak that’s being made worse due to a lack of children being vaccinated.

Measles Spread in England

Over the last four weeks, England has witnessed 169 new cases of measles since January 22, bringing the total confirmed cases to 581 since the beginning of October. 

Recently, the first case of measles in seven years was reported in Northern Ireland, marking a concerning development that has caught the attention of health officials and the public alike. This rise is in stark contrast to the mere two cases reported across the entire UK in 2021 and 54 in 2022.

Highly Contagious Concerns

This upward trend is particularly worrying because measles is highly contagious and can lead to severe complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis, and death.

Health experts in the UK are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible to ease the spread of measles, a preventable disease so long as cautionary steps are taken.

Measles on the Rise in the UK

Dr Vanessa Saliba of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) expressed worry over a “worryingly low MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccine uptake in some areas across the country.” 

Dr Saliba insisted that “Measles can be a serious infection that can lead to children being unwell and in hospital,” making the importance of vaccination paramount to young families.

Falling Short of WHO Targets

Last year, all childhood vaccines in England missed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 95% uptake target, prompting the UKHSA to address the issue urgently.

Ireland has already seen its first fatality due to the virus as a man in his 40s tragically passed away after coming back from his trip to England, where measles is at its peak for the first time since the 90s.

Warning Video Released

A video has been released to warn parents of the symptoms of the disease and to urge them to seek advice on how to get children vaccinated, “If we’re not vaccinated, we’re not protected,” the video states.

Common symptoms of measles include a rash, fever, sore eyes, cough and sneezing, with health experts saying that children are “suffering needlessly” because parents aren’t vaccinating kids before symptoms arise.

While most people recover within seven to 10 days, in severe cases, measles can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, seizures, complications causing blindness, and death in rarer cases.

Historical Context

Before the introduction of the first measles vaccine in 1963, an estimated 2.6 million people died annually from the disease worldwide.

According to Dr Saliba, parents are lacking the urgency needed to prevent the spread of Measles in the UK “We think most of the problem relates to complacency and (parents) are very busy and not getting around to it,” she argued.

Global Impact of Measles

Globally, measles remains a significant threat, especially in regions with less robust healthcare systems, however, in the UK the centre of the crisis is located in the West Midlands.

The recommended figure is that at least 95% of children should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine by the age of five, but only 85% of five-year-olds have received both doses in the UK currently.

Poorer Countries Suffer Worst

In the last decade, deadly outbreaks have been documented in various countries, especially those poorer countries that have less-developed healthcare systems.

The triple-shot MMR vaccination, adopted worldwide, has proven highly effective, preventing an estimated 31.7 million deaths between 2000 and 2020, according to the World Health Organization.

With the vaccination campaign set to be rolled out, the creators hope that a video aimed at children will resonate deeper with parents, which could cause the desired effect.

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The post Cases of Measles Rise, Government Urges Parents to Vaccinate Children first appeared on Edge Media.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture.

Oscar Davies, an expert in US and UK politics and sports, is renowned for his sharp and engaging writing style, appealing to a broad spectrum of readers.

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