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Festival visitors urged to get measles jab

30 May 2018 09:32

Measles is "a highly infectious viral illness" that can be fatal

Measles is "a highly infectious viral illness" that can be fatal

Visitors of music festivals have been warned to ensure they have had their measles jab amid concerns of outbreaks of the highly infectious disease around the country.

According to Public Health England (PHE), younger people are more at risk of catching the disease due to "close-mixing environments such as festivals ". It also said that it would be issuing alerts nationally through the summer.

The government health body said that festivals make the "ideal opportunity" for visitors to catch and spread the disease.

Essential checks

Among the areas in the UK with a higher-than-normal number of measles cases in recent months is Coventry, which is home to the BBC's The Biggest Weekend two-day festivity.

PHE's West Midlands branch urged festival visitors to check they have had the MMR jab.

The bank holiday weekend event features headliner Liam Gallagher as well as Stereophonics, Paloma Faith and ska legends The Selecter among others. Tickets for the main Sunday line-up sold out within hours.

In a tweet, the PHE West Midlands branch said: "Measles is spreading around the West Midlands and festivals are a hot-spot for them to spread.

"If you are going to the BBC Biggest Weekend and Biggest Weekend Fringe in Coventry, make sure you have had your MMR vaccines."

In the first three months of 2018, the region had 71 recorded cases - more than three times the number as the same period last year, according to PHE.

There were 25 cases in the start of 2017.

"Highly infectious viral illness"

Measles is "a highly infectious viral illness" that can be fatal, PHE has reiterated.

Symptoms can include cold-like symptoms, sore red eyes, a high temperature, or a red-brown blotchy rash.

A PHE spokesperson has said: "Anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine is at risk, but young people in environments with close mixing such as festivals are more at risk.

"Our advice to those planning to attend festivals this summer is to make sure you're up to date with all your vaccinations, especially the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

"Anyone who is not sure if they are fully vaccinated should check with their GP practice who can advise them."

People have also been warned not to attend a festival if they are displaying symptoms which are characteristic of measles.

Festival-goers should seek immediate medical attention if they suspect infection, and contact their GP so disease controls and infection prevention can be organised.

If you or anyone you know is heading abroad for a festival or backpacking trip, make sure you organise the correct insurance package before you go.