Private Business Intermediaries

Measles - A National Health Emergency

25/04/2013 | By Peter Walker

Measles is a nasty and potentially very serious viral illness.  It is highly infectious in air via water droplets we exhale and inhale. Complications are quite common and impact around 20% of victims. These include vomiting,  diarrhoea, meningitis, pneumonia, blindness and even death.  We are seeing around 10% of patents requiring treatment in hospital during the current epidemic.

Measles was well on the way to eradication before a scare regarding the MMR vaccine in the 1990s due to published data that was simply not true and later identified as gross scientific misconduct. This dramatically reduced uptake of MMR immunisation and resulted in poor levels of protection in the population. The MMR vaccine has been proven to be safe.  Government’s chief scientific advisor and UK’s chief scientific advisor, Sir Mark Walport, states that we need to remember what a dangerous disease measles is and act now to immunise all children as a matter of great urgency.

University College London’s Institute of Child Health estimates that around two million children in the UK are unvaccinated being at serious and significant risk.  If you know of a child who is not protected it is vital that they are immunised as soon as possible.

The Liverpool outbreak  last year infected over 200 people,  the current outbreak in South Wales has infected 765 people already, a rise of 10% in the second week of April alone, with 77 requiring admission to hospital. There is a very real danger that this epidemic will become a national pandemic with serious consequences for the population and for the heath care system.

Symptoms of measles include:

·       Symptoms similar to a cold or flu

·       Red looking eyes often with a sensitivity to light

·       High temperature

·       Grey or white marks in the mouth and or throat

·       Red / brown spots will appear as a rash after a few days starting behind the ear the head, legs and body.

Due to the seriousness of the illness, it is vital that the G.P. is informed as this is a notifiable illness, though it is probably best not to go to see your G.P. or hospital initially in order to reduce cross infection. All primary health care providers in the NHS & private sectors have received clear management guidelines from the Department of Health.