Seven children hit by measles outbreak at Stoke-on-Trent school

Posted: 25th July 2023

Seven cases of measles have broken out in a Staffordshire school, with health officials warning people to be vigilant.

All children infected at the North Road Academy and nursery in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, had not received an MMR vaccination.

Pupils not fully vaccinated who were in close contact with the children were quarantined for 21 days.

It is thought a pupil who had travelled abroad caught the first case.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was working with NHS and council officials and that there were further “probable cases” of measles within the community.

GPs have been asked to be alert to symptoms and notify the UKHSA of any suspected cases as soon as possible to help contain the spread.

Measles cases are on the rise nationally with a significant increase amongst communities in London identified earlier this month.

Young boy being vaccinatedIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,
All confirmed cases have been in children who have not received any doses of the MMR vaccine

Dr William Proto, health protection consultant with UKHSA West Midlands, said measles can, on occasion, cause permanent disability or death.

“Measles is a very infectious virus and can spread rapidly among communities, such as schools, if people have not had at least one dose of the MMR vaccine.

“Whilst most people will recover completely within a couple of weeks, the virus can cause very serious illness.”

People in certain at-risk groups including babies and small children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity are at increased risk of complications if they catch measles.

No-one from the North Road Academy, which describes itself as an Islamic School, has been available for comment.

Child with measlesIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,
People with measles should isolate for at least four days after the rash has appeared

The UKHSA said there was a version of the MMR vaccine which does not involve porcine gelatin in its production, for those concerned about its contents.

Symptoms of measles include a high temperature, runny nose, coughing and sneezing. A rash usually appears after a few days.

People should isolate for at least four days after the rash has appeared.

‘Effective and safe’

Dr Proto added: “The MMR is a highly effective and safe vaccine.

“Children should receive two doses of MMR for maximum protection. The vaccine not only protects them, but also limits the chances of the virus spreading more widely, for example to children who are too young to have the vaccine and to adults who may be more vulnerable to the disease.”

Dr Chandra Kanneganti from the Local Medical Committee, said that they had been told to be vigilant as cases were rising, but the Cobridge Surgery had not been advised of an outbreak attached to a specific school.

The World Health Organisation recommends that immunisation rates for measles should be higher than 95%. In Stoke-on-Trent, the levels are relatively high at 92%.

Source: Seven children hit by measles outbreak at Stoke-on-Trent school – BBC News

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