Warning to parents as measles cases reported to PHE break recordIvy Madziva
Anyone who has not received two doses of the MMR vaccine is at risk, and scarlet fever is also at record levels.
Measles cases in Bristol hit a record high last year. There were 69 suspected cases of measles reported to Public Health England (PHE) in 2018.
This was ten times the seven reported in 2017, and the highest number in a year since available records began in 2010.
PHE repeatedly warned of measles outbreaks across England in 2018, linked to outbreaks in Europe, and particularly affecting teenagers and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine when they were younger.
According to PHE, between January 1 and October 31 last year, there were 913 laboratory-confirmed measles cases in England, the most recent published figures. This is a steep rise in cases compared to 259 lab-confirmed measles cases in the whole of 2017.
Anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine is at risk, with PHE encouraging anyone who is not sure if they are fully vaccinated to check with their GP and get up to date if necessary.
Registered medical practitioners in England and Wales have a statutory duty to notify their local authority or local Health Protection Team of suspected cases of certain infectious diseases.
The figures show cases of scarlet fever also hit record highs last year.
There were 276 cases of scarlet fever reported in Bristol in 2018, up from 216 in 2017.
Scarlet fever is a very contagious, seasonal bacterial illness that usually presents with a sore throat, fever, headaches, and a rosy rash that generally starts on a patient’s chest and mainly affects children.
Cases usually peak between December and May.
A Generic photo of a skin rash caused by measles. See PA Features HEALTH Vaccine. PA Photo/iStockphoto.com. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature HEALTH Vaccine.
PHE suggested that the increase in cases in scarlet fever was partly due to more infections, but also partly due to more awareness of the condition leading to better reporting.
Other infectious diseases reported in Bristol included tuberculosis, with 50 cases, mumps, with 59 cases, and whooping cough with,29 cases.
Across England and Wales, there were 2,599 suspected cases of measles reported in 2018, up from 1,692 in 2017.
This was the highest number of reports since 2013, when there were 6,191 cases.
Reported scarlet fever cases hit a record 31,865 in 2018, up from 17,813 in 2017.
Scarlet fever is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria which is commonly found in the throat and nose, and on your skin, however if it gets into parts of the body where bacteria are not usually found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs it can cause invasive Group A Streptococcal disease.
(Image: Bristol Post)
Two of the most severe, but rare, forms of invasive GAS disease are necrotising fasciitis (occasionally described as “the flesh-eating bacteria”) and Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome.
There were 663 cases of invasive Group A Streptococcal disease in 2018, the highest number since records began in 2010.
Cases of infectious bloody diarrhoea, commonly associated with Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter bacteria, were also up, with 517 in 2018, up from 405 in 2017.
Also reaching record numbers were cases of diptheria, with 22 suspected cases reported last year, haemolytic uraemic syndrome, a severe complication of E.coli infections that can cause kidney failure, with 12 cases, and Legionnaires’ Disease, serious pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, found in water droplets from a contaminated sources such as air conditioning systems and spa pools, with 230 cases.
What parents need to look out for
(Image: Bristol Post)
Know the signs and symptoms of measles. Do you/your child have cold-like symptoms, sore red eyes, a high temperature or a red-brown blotchy rash?
If so, stay at home and do not go to work or school. If you suspect measles, call your GP immediately to be assessed and stay at home for five days until rash has disappeared.
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