Families in Wolverhampton are being encouraged to take up the MMR vaccine following an increase in measles cases in the West Midlands.

Measles is a very infectious disease spread by coughs and sneezes. It can spread rapidly among communities, including schools, if people have not had 2 doses of the MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.   

Measles does not just affect young children, and anyone who has missed their MMR vaccination is at risk of catching it.

Measles can lead to serious problems if it spreads to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain. It can cause serious problems such as pneumonia, meningitis, blindness, and fits, with people in certain groups including babies and small children, pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system, at increased risk.  

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Wellbeing, said: “We have seen an increase in measles cases across the West Midlands and we want to raise awareness and encourage those who have not had both doses of their MMR vaccine to get protected as soon as possible.

“Although there haven’t been any cases of measles reported in Wolverhampton at this time, this is a very infectious disease and we want to ensure residents come forward for their MMR vaccine so they are protected.

“Anyone who has not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine should ask their GP surgery for a vaccination appointment. To see if your child is up to date with their MMR vaccines, check your child’s personal child health record, known as the red book, or contact your GP.”

John Denley, Wolverhampton’s Director of Public Health, added: “Anyone with symptoms of measles should stay at home and phone their GP or call the NHS on 111 for advice, instead of visiting the surgery or A&E, as this will prevent the illness spreading further. It’s important to get medical advice if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and have been in contact with someone with measles.

“The best way to prevent measles in the first place is by getting both doses of the MMR vaccine, which is both safe and effective. If you do not use any pork products, there is a version of the vaccine, called Priorix, which has no pork ingredients, and you can request this from your GP.”

Symptoms of measles include high fever, sore, red and watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, aching and feeling generally unwell, and a blotchy red brown rash which usually appears after the initial symptoms.

People with measles remain infectious until at least 4 days after the onset of the rash so they should stay away from nursery, school, university, work and other group activities until then.

More information on measles is available on the NHS website at Measles. More information on the MMR vaccine is available at MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.