Advice on measles - Public Health Dorset
Advice on measles
Measles is an infection that spreads very easily and can lead to serious illness and complications.
We are not currently experiencing any outbreaks of measles locally in Dorset, but following a steep rise in cases in the West Midlands, the UK Health Security Agency is warning that further outbreaks could spread to other areas.
The World Health Organization recommends vaccination rates of 95% to protect the population against measles. The latest data for our area shows that 88% of 5 year olds in BCP and 92% of 5 year olds in Dorset Council are fully vaccinated through two doses of the MMR vaccine, but uptake has been declining locally and nationally over recent years.
There is no specific medical treatment for measles, so vaccination is the best protection against serious illness. Certain groups, including babies, young children and pregnant women, are at greater risk from complications.
How to get the MMR vaccine
The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is a routine childhood vaccination, so most children will be vaccinated against measles. The MMR vaccine is very effective and after 2 doses 99% of people will be protected against measles.
If you or your child have missed one or both MMR doses, you can catch up at any age. Contact your GP practice to book your free appointment. If you aren’t sure if you have had the MMR vaccination you can ask at your GP practice.
What to do if you think you or your child has measles
Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later, which starts on the face and behind the ears before spreading to the rest of the body. Some people may also get small white spots in their mouth. If you or your child has had two doses of the MMR vaccine, it’s very unlikely to be measles. Find out more on the NHS website.
Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if you think you or your child may have measles.
Managing measles cases
Education settings should follow UKHSA guidance. The local Health Protection Team will provide advice on measles cases. If diagnosed with measles, children should stay off school or nursery for at least 4 days from when the rash first appears.
- NHS advice on measles: Measles - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Guidance for parents and carers: What to do if you think your child has measles and when to keep them off school - The Education Hub (blog.gov.uk)
- Guidance for education settings: Managing specific infectious diseases: A to Z - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Guidance for healthcare settings: NHS England » Guidance for risk assessment and infection prevention and control measures for measles in healthcare settings