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Measles epidemic warning as 1 in 10 UK children go unvaccinated – see symptoms

As the pandemic has progressed, uptake of the measles vaccine has declined, leading to the WHO’s warning that the UK is vulnerable to an “epidemic” of the highly contagious disease.

A child with signs of measles
The WHO has issued a UK health warning that the country could face a measles epidemic.

The World Health Organization has issued a stark warning that the UK could face a measles epidemic as childhood vaccination rates fall.

Since 2019, the percentage of children under the age of two receiving the first dose of the MMR vaccine has fallen to 90 percent — a five-point drop since the pandemic began. The percentage of children who received the full two-dose vaccine dropped to 85 percent.

The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, has been around for five decades, but adoption has declined recently as vaccine hesitancy has increased. The first dose of the vaccine is usually given to a one-year-old infant, and the second after three years and four months.

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One in 10 children is unvaccinated
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The World Health Organization (WHO) says that at least 95 percent of children need to be vaccinated against the disease to prevent epidemics from breaking out.

Studies show that two doses of vaccine provide 99 percent protection against measles and rubella and 88 percent protection against mumps.

Around the world, measles alone causes 2.6 million deaths each year, but after a global immunization program, these mostly infant deaths fell to just 73,000 in 2014 — a 97 percent drop.

Now, with a 70 per cent rise in global cases and lower vaccination rates, WHO health experts warn the UK is vulnerable to a measles epidemic.

dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s special representative for Covid-19, warned that around 73 million people around the world who could get the MMR vaccine did not have it.

He said: “That means there were 17,000 measles cases worldwide in the first few months this year, while in the first two months of previous years it was usually less – 10,000 or less.

“So yes, we have a global measles epidemic and that worries us because measles can be a very dangerous disease.

“We just need to get the vaccinations up and running again and that’s part of getting health services working again as Covid takes a more regular place in our lives.”

What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects children and can lead to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia and encephalitis.

The telltale signs of the disease are a persistent fever and a red, blotchy rash. There are no known cures for measles, so those with measles can only treat their symptoms, such as dehydration.

Measles infection damages and suppresses the immune system, leaving children much more susceptible to other infections.

It can lead to a condition called SSPE (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis), which can lead to progressive central nervous system destruction, loss of motor control, epilepsy, and death.

symptoms

  • Cold symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and coughing
  • sore red eyes
  • Fever
  • small off-white spots on the inside of the cheeks
  • discomfort and pain

Possible complications

  • hepatitis
  • brain infections
  • eye problems and vision loss
  • heart and nervous system problems
  • miscarriage or stillbirth
  • premature birth
  • low birth weight

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/measles-epidemic-warning-one-10-26868403 Measles epidemic warning as 1 in 10 UK children go unvaccinated - see symptoms

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