Thirty children diagnoses with measles in Welsh town

Thirty children have been diagnosed with measles at an outbreak connected to the Ysgol Eifionydd School in Porthmadog, North Wales.

Eleven of the children diagnosed with the extremely contagious disease have been confirmed in just the last several days. There are worries that the potentially fatal disease could spread further throughout North Wales due to the relatively low vaccination, Wales Online reports.

Of the 30 children affected by the outbreak, none of them have received more than one dose of the MMR vaccine. Two doses of the vaccine are required to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Public Health Wales are urging families throughout Gwynedd to get their children vaccinated with MMR. The Porthmadog area hosted two vaccination catch-up sessions last week, during which 30 children received the vaccine. General practitioners in Gwynedd are offering MMR vaccinations locally to children.

"Measles is highly contagious and spreads very easily," Chris Whiteside, a consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said, according to Wales Online. "We predicted that the number of cases would rise but it is sad nonetheless that it has risen so sharply. As long as there are children who have not had their two MMR vaccinations, there is the potential for more people to become ill with measles. There is then a danger for the disease to spread to unvaccinated friends, family or others who cannot be vaccinated due to existing health problems and who are therefore highly vulnerable to measles infection."

Complications from the viral disease include pneumonia, meningitis and encephalitis. Measles can be fatal in rare cases.