Babies and children * Young people * Healthy living * Travel health

Measles alert for Easter travellers

Measles alert for Easter travellers Vaccine reminder

Families travelling to Europe may wants to check their measles vaccinations are up to date, as several countries have seen a rise in cases.

France reported more than 4,500 cases in 2010, and nearly 1,000 cases in January 2011 alone. In the UK, around only 4,500 cases have been diagnosed since 2006.

Turkey has also recently reported an outbreak in Istanbul, as well as cases linked to a large outbreak in Bulgaria in 2010.

Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have also reported a sharp rise in cases.

The Health Protection Agency has written to schools in England to remind parents to check whether their children are fully vaccinated.

Measles is caused by a highly contagious paramyxovirus. The virus is easily spread between people by inhaling or coming into contact with droplets containing the virus, produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The Agency recommends that all children be fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine, ideally one month apart.

Adults who have only been vaccinated once should consider getting a booster dose to make sure they are protected against the virus, the HPA said.

To date, the Health Protection Agency has reported 22 cases of measles. Eight of these had a history of recent overseas travel to France, India, Turkey or Switzerland.

An HPA spokesman said: "We are seeing more cases where people have been abroad then come back to England and develop measles symptoms.

"We want parents to be aware of the symptoms and mindful that if they are travelling abroad and their children have not been immunised they will be vulnerable."

This article was published on Mon 11 April 2011

Image © Ilja Mašík -

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