SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Measles outbreak continues in Wales

Public health officials in Great Britain recently announced that 64 new measles cases were reported in Wales around or in the city of Swansea.

The outbreak has infected a total of 316 people, mostly children, and 42 have needed hospitalization. Health officials said a total of 111 secondary and primary schools and nurseries have been affected by the highly contagious illness, BBC reports.

Public Health Wales is urging that residents take the MMR vaccine and have warned that there will most likely be an increasing number of cases across mid and west Wales. It is only a matter of time, according to the public health agency, before a child is left with serious and permanent complications from the illness.

"We cannot emphasize enough that measles is an illness that can kill, or leave people with permanent complications including severe brain damage," Dr. Marion Lyons, director of health protection for Public Health Wales, said, according to the BBC.

"The only protection is the safe and highly effective MMR vaccine. We are urging parents of unvaccinated children to make immediate arrangements with their GP for their children to receive the MMR jab, to prevent further spread of the disease and further misery."

Lyons also said children who have not been fully vaccinated will remain at risk for the illness, but that one dose of the vaccine would protect up to 90 percent of children very quickly, BBC reports.

"The current outbreak will almost certainly continue into the summer months with potentially serious impacts for children sitting important exams, such as GCSE's and 'A' levels," Lyons said, according to the BBC.