Symptoms and signs of measles as UK in grips of dangerous outbreak

The UK is seeing rising numbers of cases of measles as fewer children are receiving the necessary double jab they need to ensure protection against the infection. According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), if children aren’t vaccinated then the likelihood of the infection spreading quickly increases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) target is 95 per cent double vaccination rate; cin 2022/23 it was 85 per cent, the lowest since 2010/11.

Things are particularly acute in the West Midlands, where there have been 200 recorded cases in recent months. Meanwhile in Hackney in east London the rate of double vaccination is around 50 per cent. According to the BBC the rate of double jabs across the capital is only 74 per cent.

And it seems rates of infection have been rising for some time. There were 1,603 suspected cases of measles in England and Wales in 2023, claimed the UKHSA. That is a significant uptick from 735 cases in 2022 and 360 in 2021.

What is measles?

According to the Royal Orthapaedic Hospital (ROH): “Measles is an infection that spreads very easily and can cause serious problems in some people. It’s more than ‘just a rash’, it is a serious illness that can be unpleasant and lead to complications, especially in vulnerable, immunocompromised, or pregnant patients.

“Having the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine is the best way to prevent it.”

According to the ROH experts, the symptoms to look out for are numerous.

The main measles symptoms are:

  • High fever
  • Sore, red, watery eyes
  • Coughing and/or runny nose
  • Small red spots with bluish-white centres inside the mouth
  • A red-brown blotchy rash, which appears after several days

Where can I get jabbed?

Speaking to your GP surgery is the best thing to do, if you need to book an MMR jab for your child.

Schools are also setting up pop-up clinics.

The first MMR jab normally gets given to a child after a year, and the second comes at around three years and four months. The idea is that children are jabbed before they start school, reducing the risk that they will pass it on to others.

Children and adults are able to be jabbed.

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