A warning has gone out from the county council that parents planning family holidays abroad this summer should check their children have had the full MMR vaccination before travelling.
Measles is a highly infectious disease. A high number of cases have already been confirmed in England this year. Destinations popular with holiday-makers, France, Italy, Spain and Ireland are among the top seven countries reporting high numbers of measles cases currently.
West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing Christine Field said: “There are concerns that the summer holidays could provide an opportunity for measles to spread, as large numbers of people come into contact with one another and travel over a short period of time.
“Measles can be a very unpleasant illness and can lead to serious complications.
“It is never too late to get vaccinated. Unvaccinated children, teenagers or young people should have at least one dose of the MMR vaccine, which will then give them 95 percent protection against measles. A second dose is then needed to provide almost complete protection.”
You can get your child vaccinated at your GP surgery. Routinely, children are offered the MMR vaccine in two doses; typically the first is given at around 12 months old and the second at three years of age. However, if your child has missed a dose, it is never too late to catch up.
Nationally, Public Health England, NHS England and the Department of Health are running a catch up programme to prevent measles outbreaks by vaccinating as many unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10 to 16-years-olds as possible in time for the next school year.
If parents are unsure whether their child has had the required two doses of the vaccine, they should contact their GP who will have a record.
For further advice on measles visit the NHS Choices website at http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/Homepage.aspx.