Hello all, I’m sure you’ve all been hearing about the measles outbreak that has swept through Swansea this month. Public Health Wales (PHW), says they’re tackling an epidemic of more than 800 cases, and the numbers just keep increasing! Many have been hospitalised already, and now, the tragic news of a death causes an outcry in Wales for the epidemic to be tackled.
The 25-year-old, named as Gareth Williams, was found dead at a flat on
Thursday. Tests confirmed only that the man had measles at the time of his death. A post mortem examination has yet to confirm the cause of death, however, officials says his unfortunate death is most likely to be associated with measles. His death is the first death in the measles outbreak, this poses the question…how many more?
Teenagers are being targeted as a priority for MMR vaccinations
To have any chance of reducing the increasing cases of measles, MMR jabs are being offered in schools. This is a good initiative, however, initial take-up was said to be “disappointing” by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health board.
Drop-in sessions have also been provided to immunise as many local residents as possible to combat the epidemic. Last weekend around 2,500 people received the MMR vaccination at special clinics held across south Wales. Vaccinations aren’t only available for infants, but teenagers have been the main target.
Dr Marion Lyons, PHW director of health protection, said: “Although we want children of all ages who have missed vaccinations to catch up now, we are particularly concerned about those aged between 10 and 18. These are the children who would have missed vaccination because of concerns about the safety of MMR in the late 1990s. The vaccine is safe, effective and the only protection against a potentially fatal disease.
Now, it’s fair to say that if these teenagers hadn’t missed out on the MMR vaccination in the late 1990s, this epidemic could have been avoided. Many safety questions were being asked about the MMR at the time. Many parents refused to allow their children to partake in the immunisation during the late 1990′s because they were led to believe the vaccination could cause Autism. However, this claim and misconception was quickly disproved, and the doctor/scientist to began the ‘Autism scare’ was dismissed from his job and publically humiliated.
Dr Marion Lyons concluded by saying: “We can’t bring this outbreak to an end unless the parents of unvaccinated children either arrange vaccination with their GP, call in to one of the weekend drop-in sessions or ensure that if their child attends a school where vaccinations are being offered.”