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Measles vaccine

Recently Leicester has seen confirmed cases of measles. It is really important to prevent the spread of measles as it is highly contagious and can lead to serious illness, in severe cases can be fatal. The best way to prevent the spread of measles is to have two doses of the measles vaccine.

Measles is a disease that can be easily spread in both adults and children. In some cases, it can lead to severe illness and can be fatal.

The virus spreads easily through coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with an infected person. People who have had two doses of the measles vaccination (MMR) are highly protected against getting measles even if they come into contact with someone who has the disease.

Early symptoms of measles include:
• High fever
• Cough
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore, red, and watery eyes
• Koplik spots (small red spots with bluish-white centres) inside the mouth

Several days after these first symptoms, a rash can develop on the face and upper neck, extending to other parts of the body such as the hands and feet. This rash lasts for about 5 to 6 days before gradually fading.
Measles is often mistaken for other infections that also cause rashes so is always something to think about if you have any of these symptoms and have not been vaccinated against measles.

In some people measles can lead to other illnesses including:
• Lung infections
• Ear infections
• Severe diarrhoea leading to dehydration
• Infection of the brain
• Fits

People with a lower immune system such as people who are taking certain medicines, who are older or who are pregnant are at more risk of getting other illnesses if they are infected with measles.

If you think you or someone you know has measles, please call your GP but don't go in person until you have spoken to them on the phone. This is because the virus can be spread so easily. If you need to call an ambulance, tell them you think this may be measles so that staff can take the proper precautions.

You should stay away from other people, especially those who are pregnant, who are not vaccinated or who have weaker immune systems until you know whether you have measles or not. The test for measles is very simple, usually by testing your spit. Your doctor will organise a kit to be sent to you.

MMR vaccine

Preventing the spread of measles is best achieved through vaccination. Two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine provide lifelong protection. In the UK, this is given to all babies at 13 months and 3 years 4 months.

The Priorix vaccine does not contain gelatine. 

You can check your vaccine status through the NHS app or by calling your GP. Your child's status can also be checked through their red book.

People born after 1970, or those who arrived in the UK after childhood may not have received two doses so can check this with their GP.

For more information on measles or the MMR vaccine, visit the NHS website.