Measles update - MMR drop-in sessions
Public health experts are reminding Leeds students and young people in the city of the importance of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination following recent confirmation of cases of measles.
The Leeds Students Medical Practice continues to offer free MMR (Mumps/Measles/Rubella) vaccinations to patients who have not been vaccinated before, or who have had only one previous vaccination. MMR vaccination drop-in sessions have been arranged for:
Wednesday 23 March 3-4.30pm
Wednesday 30 March 2-4pm
Wednesday 6 April 2-4pm
West Yorkshire Health Protection Unit and NHS Leeds are aware of 11 laboratory confirmed cases of measles in students at both the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University since the beginning of February 2011, and a further five possible cases reported in students.
Measles is highly infectious and is spread through direct contact with an infected person or through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Being vaccinated is very important, not just to protect individuals, but also to stop the virus from spreading in the community and potentially seriously affecting others. measles.
Dr Mike Gent, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at West Yorkshire Health Protection Unit, said: "We're aware that measles is circulating in students in Leeds and this is a cause for concern. Measles can be a very dangerous illness and recently confirmed cases in Leeds are the first we've seen in the city since 2009.
Dr Simon Balmer, Public Health Consultant for NHS Leeds, said: "People are best protected from the measles virus when they have been given two doses of the MMR vaccination. The vaccination also protects against mumps and rubella and I would continue to remind all students, young people and parents of the importance of this safe and effective immunisation, offered routinely in childhood, to protect both individuals and our whole community from these infections.
"It's never too late for young adults to get immunised with the MMR vaccine. If you've not been vaccinated, please contact your GP to arrange to get protected against what can be very dangerous illnesses.
"We would urge students to arrange for this as soon as possible, and certainly before the start of the new university term in April, when exams will be taking place. All students in Leeds should be able to get vaccinated by contacting their GP in the first instance, or their University health team. Any students who remain unprotected when returning home for the Easter holidays should take the opportunity to arrange a vaccination with their family GP, where possible."
All individuals concerned are recovering well and health professionals have been working to ensure that any close contacts of the cases have been identified and provided with appropriate health advice. Information on the signs and symptoms of the disease and the importance of MMR vaccination has been provided to students through Leeds GPs and other healthcare professionals.
Dr Gent added: "We know that measles is still common in many developing countries and anyone travelling to these countries who is unsure of their MMR status is advised to check that they have received two doses of the vaccine.
"Whilst the success of the MMR vaccine means that cases of measles in the UK are relatively rare, in recent years the number of cases confirmed nationally has been increasing, with around 50 cases of measles confirmed in the Yorkshire and the Humber region in each of the last few years."
Symptoms of measles include:
Cold/catarrh symptoms - runny nose, sore and runny eyes
Dry croupy cough
White (Kopliks) spots on the gums (second and third day)
Diarrhoea - often in the early stages in children
If you think you may have measles, contact your GP or the Leeds Student Medical Practice for advice and inform them that you have symptoms of measles.
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